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Winona Lake, Indiana 


WINTER 1970 

VOL. 11 I No. 1 


A publication of Grace Theological Seminary 




W. Harold Mare 



Thomas 0. Figart 




Renald E. Showers 






GRACE JOURNAL is published three times each year (Winter, Spring, Fall) by Grace Theological 
Seminary, in cooperation with the Grace Seminary Alumni Association. 

EDITORIAL POLICY: The editors of GRACE JOURNAL hold the historic Christian faith, and 
accept without reservation the inerrancy of Scripture and the premillennial view of eschatology. 
A more complete expression of their theological position may be found in the Statement of 
Faith of Grace Theological Seminary. The editors, however, do not necessarily endorse every 
opinion that may be expressed by individual writers in the JOURNAL. 

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ADDRESS: All subscriptions and review copies of books should be sent to GRACE JOURNAL, 
Box 397, Winona Lake, Indiana 46590. 

Copyright, 1970, by Grace Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. 


Published by 






HOMER A. KENT, JR., Editor 
JOHN C. WHITCOMB, JR. , Managing Editor 
S. HERBERT BESS, Book Review Editor 

GRACE JOURNAL is indexed by 




FOR MOSHER LIBRARY (Dallas Theological Seminary) 





Professor of New Testament Language and Literature 

Covenant Theological Seminary 

In the varied use of ouranos in the New Testament the concept is 
implied that there are several regions of heaven, and in one place, 2 Cor- 
inthians 12:1-4, it is clearly stated that there is in some sense a third 
heaven. As a matter of fact, in this passage Paul states that he was snatched 
up, unto this third heaven, into paradise, and that he did not know whether 
he was in or out of the body in his experience. 

It is the purpose of this study to interpret 2 Corinthians 12:1 -4 as 
to the meaning of the third heaven and to the other regions implied, in the 
light of the concept of ouranos and related words in Classical and Hellenistic 
Greek, in the Old Testament, in the literature of the Intertestamental 
period and that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, comparing such usage with the 
teaching of the New Testament on the subject together with the writings of 
the Patristic period. The study will be concluded with an examination of 
the text of 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. 

The questions arising in the New Testament and particularly in 2 
Corinthians 12 concern how the heaven or heavens mentioned relate to the 
concept of a plurality of heavenly regions and whether they are to be con- 
sidered as completely material and spatial, partly so, or not at all, and 
further, how paradise relates to this concept of heaven. For a more adequate 
answer to these questions it will be well to observe how writers other than 
those of the New Testament books used particularly the concept, ouranos . 

Ouranos in the Classical and Hellenistic Greek Literature 

Ouranos is used from the earliest period of the epic writings of 
Homer and Hesiod throughout Greek literature, but it never is used in the 
plural by classical writers. 1 The word conveyed the idea of the vault or 
firmament of heaven which was thought of as being made of bronze ( chalkeos , 
Horn. II. 17.425; poluchalkos , IL 5.504) or iron ( sidereos , Horn. Od. 


15.329), this vault idea also being conveyed by Empedocles ( steremnion , 
Placit. 2.11.2 [Vorsokr. 1, p. 209]). 

As to spatial relationship, ouranos was conceived of, on the one 
hand, as the lower heaven, the area of the atmosphere, that part which is 
wrapped in clouds (D_. 15. 192, Od. 5.303), connected with both aither and 
nephelai (11. 15. 192), being conceived of as the aitheros to eschaton (Zeno, 
Stoic 1.33 (cf. Ar. Nu . 95 sqq. ), ^ the area above earth into which the 
flame from watch-fires would ascend into heaven (II. 8. 509); and, on the 
other hand, as the higher heaven of the stars ( asteroenta , Hes. Th . 127; 
II. 15.371, Od. 9.527). To the philosophers, Plato and Aristotle ouranos 
could be conceived of as the totality of all, the universe (PI. Pit . 269d, 
Ti. 32b; Arist. Cael . 278^21, Metaph . 990 a 20). 3 

Ouranos was also conceived of by the Greeks as the dwelling place 
of the gods, being outside the skyey vault of heaven, inhabited by Zeus 
(II. 15. 192), called the great heaven and Olympus (U. 1. 497; 8. 394) which 
was thought of in D.. 19. 128 as connected with the starry heaven, and which 
in H. 5.749-751 and 8.393-395 is pictured as above the thick cloud of 
heaven, where the gate of heaven ( pulai ouranou , i. e. , the thick cloud"*) at 
the great heaven and Olympus was lifted up and put down by the Hours 
( horai ) as though it were a trap door. 

Thus, in the classical period ouranos to the Greeks included vault, 
involved the lower atmospheric heaven, as well as the higher starry heaven, 
and the universe as a whole, and had in it, in a location near, but above, 
the atmospheric heaven the dwelling place of the gods. 

Ouranos in the Septuagint Old Testament 

v_ c 

Ouranos, translating in the Septuagint the Hebrew word, Samayim ° 

in Genesis 1:8 is connected with the concept of firmament, raqiya c , an 
expanse. ° Further, as to spatial relationship the lower area of heaven is 
depicted as the place from which the rain descends from the clouds (Gen. 
7:11; Deut. 11:11, 17) and the dew comes (Gen. 27:28), the wind blows 
(I Kings 18:45), hail falls (Josh. 10:11) and thunder sounds (2 Sam. 22:14). 

As to the higher heaven, ouranos is the place in which are found 
the sun and moon (Gen. 1:16), as well as the stars of heaven (Gen. 22:17; 
26:4; Josh. 10:13). In some Scripture references the sun, moon, and 
planets are thought of as the host of heaven which heathen worship involved 
(2 Kings 17:16; 23:4, 5; Jer. 8:2). 

In some passages the ouranos , together with the earth, is the 
totality of all the universe when reference is made to God creating the 
heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1; Exod. 31:17; Isa. 37:16). 


Then, through the phrase, the heaven of heavens (ho ouranos tou 
ouranou) which seems to be the equivalent to highest heaven, 7 the thought 
is suggested that the Hebrews conceived of another heaven beyond the two 
regions noted above. The expression is used with regard to God's creating 
not only heaven, and the earth and seas but also the heaven of heavens 
(Neh. 9:6); to His not being able to be contained in the heaven and heaven 
of heavens (I Kings 8:27; I Chron. 2:6 (5); 2 Chron. 6:18); and in poetic 
language, to God as the one who rides upon the heaven of heavens which 
were of old (Ps. 68:33 (34)8 an( j t w hom praise should be made by the 
heaven of heavens (Ps. 148:4). 9 There seems implied by this expression 
a third heavenlO beyond or apart from the lower atmospheric heaven and 
the higher heaven of the sun, moon and stars. 

Ouranos is the dwelling place of personal beings, such as man, 
exampled by Elijah being taken up to heaven in a bodyll by a whirlwind 
(2 Kings 2:1,11); and God who ispicturedas sitting in the heavens (Ps. 2:4), 
His dwelling place (I Kings 8:30; 2 Chron. 6:21; Ps. 123:1), where His 
throne is (Ps. 11:4; I Kings 22:19; 2 Chron. 18:18). 

In summary, most of these categories regarding heaven are to be 
taken as visible, material and in spatial relationship: the firmament, lower 
and higher heaven, the heaven as universe, and the heaven into which the 
body of Elijah ascended. It is likely that the heaven of heavens, a possible 
third heaven, is to be considered in the same way. That God dwells in 
heaven is not to be limited to that which is visible and spatial, although the 
Old Testament Scripture certainly teaches that God, the infinite Spirit, is 
in personal relation to His heaven and earth which He created. 

The Concept of Heaven in the Intertestamental Period 

In the Intertestamental Period ouranos is viewed as including the 
lower heaven from which fire descends (2 Mace. 2:10) the higher heaven 
of the moon and the stars (4 Mace. 18:5), the general or universal heaven 
which together with the earth God made (2 Mace. 7:28). Again there is 
reference to the highest heaven, the heaven of heavens, which man cannot 
reach, it being the dwelling place of God (3 Mace. 2:15), who is declared 
to be sovereign in heaven (2 Mace. 15:3,4) and King of the heavens 
(3 Mace. 2:2). 12 

Of particular interest in this period is the concept of a seven-fold 
heaven. In the Testament of Levi 2:7-9 13 there are presented three 
heavens with the indications that there are four more to come. Then, in 
the Testament of Levi 3 there is described a seven-storied heaven with 
the Great Glory (God) dwelling in the highest part. 14 


In the Assumption of Moses 35, a document of the same general 
time as, or a little later than, the received editions of the Testaments of 
the Twelve Patriarchs , and in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch 1 5 there 
again occur references to seven heavens. 

Thus, in the Intertestamental Period, as in the Old Testament, 
heaven is conceived of as including lower as well as higher regions, a 
highest heaven or heaven of heavens, and a place where God dwells. The 
significant additional concept is that heaven is a seven-storied structure 
with God dwelling in the highest part. 

Heaven in the Dead Sea Scrolls Literature 

In this distinctive literature, of course, the Hebrew word used to 
express the thought of heaven is smym 10 which includes in its use the 
lower heaven from which comes rain (H 8, 17), the universe in general, 
which God created when He stretched out the heaven (H 1,9), and the place 
where God and His angels dwell (M 12, 1). 

Such testimony, though not as full, agrees with that which is given 
in the Old Testament. 

Ouranos in the New Testament 

Ouranos is used many times in the New Testament and basically 
conveys the same distinctions as to be found in the use of the word in the 
Old Testament, including the lower heaven of the atmosphere, the place of 
the clouds (Matt. 24:30; Mark 14:62), from which comes rain (Luke 4:25), 
fire (Luke 9:54), lightning (Luke 10:18), and hail (Rev. 16:21), and the 
place in which the birds fly (Matt. 6:26; Acts 10:12). 

Ouranos in the New Testament also can convey the idea of the 
higher heaven , that place of the stars (Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:25; Rev. 6:13), 
which area is spoken of as the host of heaven (the stars which Israel wor- 
shipped, Acts 7:42), and as the powers of the heavens which shall be shaken 
(Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:26). It is also the general or universal heaven which 
with the earth is considered the totality of God's creation (heaven and earth 
shall pass away, Matt. 24:35). 

There is a possible suggestion of a plurality of heavens in such 
expressions as the kingdom of the heavens ( ouranon , Matt. 3:2; 4:17) and 
your Father in the heavens (Matt. 7:11), but it is difficult to determine 
sometimes where the plural form, ouranoi is to be taken literally (as 
probably above)and where it is to be understood only as apart of a formula 



following the Hebrew, samayim , in being plural. For example, there does 

not seem to be any distinction to be drawn between the singular, ouranos , 
in Luke 3:21 and the plural, ouranoi, in Matthew 3:16 inasmuch as the 
same incident is described in both places. 17 

However, there are references in the New Testament where ouranoi 
can be understood properly in the plural sense, implying a third heaven 
beyond the two regions mentioned earlier; for example, of Christ, our high 
priest who has passed into the heavens (Heb. 4:14) who has become higher 
than the heavens (Heb. 7:26) and who has gone up above all the heavens 
(Eph. 4:10); and of creation, the heavens being the work of God's hands 
(Heb. 1:10) who created all things, both those in the heavens (plural) and 
those on the earth (singular, Col. 1:16). Peter declares that at the end of 
the age there will be a new heavens (plural) and a new earth (singular, 
2 Pet. 3:12, 13). We will discuss Paul's third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2) below. 

The New Testament also presents ouranos as the dwelling place of 
God and His angels, for, He is the Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:45; 
6:1), whose throne is there (Rev. 4:2), and His angels are pictured as the 
multitude of the heavenly host (Luke 2:13, 15). 

Thus the New Testament presents the same basic picture of heaven 
as seen in the Old Testament, including the universal creation of God, the 
lower and higher heaven, a plurality of heavens which suggest a region 
distinct from the lower and higher areas, and heaven as the place where 
God and the angels dwell. 

Ouranos in the Patristics 

In the Patristics in addition to being used of the higher heaven which 
contains the sun (Ath. gent . 9, M 25. 17 C), and of the general, universal 
heaven (of heaven and earth, Or. Jo. 1. 15), the term ouranos is employed 
to describe two heavens, (visible and invisible, Thdt. qu. 27 in 3 Reg. ) 
and also the seven heaven concept, which was seen in the Intertestamental 
Period, it being asserted as being a part of the doctrine of the Gnostics 
(Iren. Haer . 1.5.2, ANF , Vol. I), and as being unscriptural (Or. Cels . 
6.21 and 6:23, ANF , Vol. IV). The heaven is the dwelling place of Christ 
who ascended up to heaven ( Barn . 15. 9), and of angels (Or. Cels . 4. 92). 18 

Although the usage of ouranos is not as full here, yet it follows the 
general pattern of thought expressed in the New and Old Testaments. 


Paul's Third Heaven of 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 

In defending his position as an apostle, Paul in this passage 
mentions visions and revelations given to him and describes an experience 
of his in being caught up to the third heaven, into paradise, in which 
experience he is not certain whether he is in or out of the body. What was 
the nature of this experience, of the vision, of the third heaven and 
Paradise, and of his being transported to heaven? 

First, it is to be noted that in verse 1, he uses both the words 
optasia and apokalupsis , the former conveying the idea of vision, in which 
man is granted the privilege by God of seeing what is ordinarily hidden 
from human beings (such as Zechariah's vision of an angel in the temple, 
Luke 1:22, and Paul's vision of Christ on the road to Damascus, Acts 26:19); 
and the latter depicting the thought of a disclosure or revealing of some 
truth or information, such as the light of revelation for the Gentiles (Luke 
2:32). In 2 Corinthians 12:1 Paul is connecting both words in the one prep- 
ositional phrase ( eis ) and saying that he was permitted to see something 
usually hidden from men and in the seeing, some basic divine truth was 
made known to him, a revelation from the Lord. -*•" Whether the visit to 
the third heavens involved just a spiritual ecstatic experience or also 
involved his physical body is not clarified by these words. 

In verse 2 in describing this definite experience Paul states that he 
was caught up unto the third heaven. In the light of the teaching of the Old 
Testament concerning the plurality of the heavens, and indeed concerning 
three regions of heaven, to which viewpoint the New Testament conforms, 
the Apostle who was well acquainted with the teachings of the Old Testament, 
must have had in mind in 2 Corinthians 12:2 a third region quite distinct 
from that of the lower atmospheric and higher starry heavens, but far 
different from the limited finite place in which the early Greeks conceived 
of their gods as dwelling. It is not proper to spiritualize away the concrete 
reality of the third heaven because of the anarthrous tritou, since ordinal 
numbers do not require an article (cf. Matt. 20:3; Mark 15:25; Acts 2:15). 20 

Paul says that he was caught away "as far as," or, rather, "up to" 
( heos ) the third heaven, with the possible implication that he had gone to 
the highest heaven, as far as it was possible to go (cf. Acts 1:8, heos 
tes ges , unto the extremity of the earth). Plummer says: 

The he5s does not prove that St. Paul regarded 
the third heaven as the highest of all, but certainly 
'even to the third heaven' would be more naturally 
used, if the third heaven were the highest, than if 
there were four other heavens above it. 21 


Paul goes on to say, after some emphatic remarks, that he was 
caught up into Paradise ( ton paradeison ), a word indicating an enclosure, 
a garden, such as the physical garden of Eden (Gen. 2, 3) and also a 
place of blessedness apart from, or above, the earth (as in Luke 23:43), 
the latter idea being the meaning here. 22 That paradise in verse 4 is 
to be equated in some sense with the third heaven in verse 2 is to be 
preferred (although not absolutely provable), since both sentences begin 
with the same statement, "I know such a man," the repetition being 
given in order to bring emphasis; and since, in connection with both 
statements, there are the same linguistic expressions in the snatching 
away ( harpagenta herpage ) and the statement of uncertainty as to whether 
the event was experienced in the body or not. By using eis in verse 4 
instead of the heos of verse 2 he may be indicating that paradise is within 
the region of the third heaven. That the third heaven and paradise are 
combined elsewhere is seen in the Assumption of Moses 37, and 40, 
written at a time not far removed from that of Paul. 23 

Related to the subject of the third heaven and paradise which is 
the place where God dwells and where Christ went following His death 
(Luke 23:43) is the question as to whether a material, physical body 
may inhabit it in a spatial manner. In 2 Corinthians 12:2 and 3 Paul says 
twice in connection with his visit to the third heaven and paradise that he 
does not know whether he was in or out of the body ( eite en somati eite 
choris [ektos] tou s5matos ), which statements allow for either of two 
interpretations, either that he was taken up in bodily form to the third 
heaven, or that his spirit, removed from the body, was taken u p by 
itself24 ( c f. Christ and the thief on the cross following death, Luke 
23:43). To be sure Paul makes it clear that he was conscious of the 
transfer regardless of how it happened, 25 anc j by his very uncertainty 
as to which of two distinct ways the event could have transpired, he 
implies that his physical, material body could just as well have gone 
to the third heaven as could his spirit alone. In the Scripture there are 
two illustrations where physical bodies went out into space somewhere: 
Elijah who went to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1, 11), his body 
later not being found (v. 17); and Christ who with His resurrection body 
ascended up into the cloudy heaven in which manner he is to return 
(Acts 1:9-11; I Thess. 4:16-17). 26 Note that in the two passages just 
cited the singular (ouranos) is used in a context where clouds are 
mentioned, whereas in places where Christ (who, it is implied in the 
New Testament, has retained His resurrection body27) i s depicted as 
having reached His ultimate place of triumph, glory and honor, the 
plural ( ouranoi ) is employed, as exampled in Hebrews 4:14 and Ephesians 
4:10, where Christ, our High Priest and Redeemer is seen as having 
passed into the heavens, even above all the heavens --all there is He 
has entered into. 



As to the regions of heaven, we observe that the New and Old 
Testaments agree in conceiving of heaven as basically involving three dif- 
ferent areas, the lower , the higher and highest heaven in the last of which 
God particularly dwells, and we conclude that Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 
has this last area in mind when he talks about the third heaven, implying 
the two other regions by his use of the word, third. 28 

Furthermore, the third heaven where God dwells and where Paul 
received divine instruction is not to be thought of necessarily as involving 
a spiritual, non-spatial relationship only, but also as involving space, 
somewhere out there in the highest or third heaven, beyond our immediate 
earth and heaven, there being a place where a human being with a body and 
God who is everywhere can meet. 


1. H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon , a new edition, 
revised and augmented by H. S. Jones and R. McKenzie (Oxford: at 
the Clarendon Press, 1953), " ouranos ." 

2. But note that in (II. 2.458, 17.425, 19.351, [cf. Sch. II. 3.3]) 
ouranos is above the aither . 

3. Plato (Ti. 32b, c) calls such a universe, ouranos , visible and tangible 
( horaton kai hapton ) and speaks of italso as the cosmos ( ho kosmos ). 

4. See II. 5.751; 8.395 where in the context the words, pukinon nephos 
are used. 

5. Ouranos is used to translate several Hebrew words, but almost all 
of the uses are a translation of samayim (in the Aramaic section of 
Daniel it is s,mayyi ). E. Hatch and H. A. Redpath, A Concordance 
to the Septuagint , Vol. II, (Graz -Austria: Akademische Druck--U. 
Verlagsanstalt, 1954), " ouranos . " 

6. E. A. Speiser translates it "expanse" in Genesis 1:8 and says, 
"Traditionally 'firmament,' . . .[which] goes back to the Vulg. 
firmamentum 'something made solid, ' which is based in turn on 
the LXX rendering of Heb. raqi af 'beaten out, stamped' (as of 
metal) suggesting a thin sheet stretched out to form the vault of the 
sky. . . ." Genesis in The Anchor Bible (Garden City, N. Y. : 
Doubleday and Co. , 1964), p. 6. See the discussion above for the 
early Greek concept of heaven as a vault of bronze or iron. 

7. Brown, Driver, and Briggs ( op. cit. , samayim ) indicate that, s , mey 
has- , means the highest heaven in such references. 

8. "The heavens of heavens (Deut. 10:14) are by qedem described as 
primeval (perhaps, following the order of their coming into exis- 
tence, as extending back beyond the heavens that belong to our globe, 


of the second and fourth day of Creation). God is said to ride along 
in the primeval heavens of the heavens (Deut. 33:26), when by 
means of the cherub (18:11) He extends His operations to all parts 
of these infinite distances and heights. " Franz Delitzsch, Biblical 
Commentary on The Psalms , tr. F. Bolton, Vol. II (Grand Rapids, 
Mich. : Eerdmans, 1955), pp. 270, 271. 
9. This phrase, heaven of heavens, means, "the highest heaven, 

conceived as in an indefinite ascending series." C. A. Briggs, 
and E. G. Briggs, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the 
Book of Psalms , Vol. II, in The International Critical Commentary 
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907), p. 539. On Psalm 
148:4 Delitzsch says, "The heavens of heavens are, as in Deut. 
10:14, I Kings 8:27, Sir. 16:18, and frequently, those which lie 
beyond the heavens of the earth which were created on the fourth 
day; therefore, they are the outermost and highest spheres. " Op. 
cit. , Vol. Ill, p. 406. 

10. W. R. Harper, in speaking of the heaven of heavens, interprets it 
as a third heaven and refers to Deut. 10:14; I Kings 8:27, and Psalm 
148:4. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Amos and Hosea 
in The International Critical Commentary (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1905), on Amos 9:6, p. 191. 

11. It is to be observed that Elijah's body was looked for on earth and 
was not found. 

12. There are a number of other references suggesting similar thoughts 
in this Apocryphal literature. See Hatch and Redpath, op. cit . , 
" ouranos , " and R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha 
of the Old Testament , Vols. I and II (Oxford: at the Clarendon 
Press, 1913). 

13. The received editions of The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs 
seem to have come "from Jewish-Christian hands which supplemented 
and reworked (rather than merely interpolated) Essene editions. " 
F. M. Cross, Jr. , The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern 
Biblical Studies , rev. ed. (Garden City, N. Y. : Anchor Books, 
Doubleday and Co., 1961) p. 200, footnote 6. It may well be that 
the original Hebrew of the Testaments dates from c. 100 B. C. as 
contended by Charles ( op. cit . , Vol. II, pp. 282, 290). 

14. Charles notes, "The sixth, fifth and fourth heavens are introduced 
[between vss. 5-8] but there is still a gap between v. 3 and v. 8, 
as there is no third heaven mentioned in 3 (a). The descending 
order is a witness to the original text, which thus enumerated the 
angels in the third heaven. " Op. cit. , Vol. II, p. 306. 

15. Suggested dates for these documents are: The Assumption of Moses , 
between 60 A.D. and 300 A.D. , probably of the earliest part of this 
period; and the Book of the Secrets of Enoch , in its present form, 
1-50 A. D. , or later. Charles, op.cit . , Vol. II, pp. 129,429; and 
Cross, op. cit. , p. 202, footnote 7. 


16. The reference letters and numbers are those used by Karl Georg 
Kuhn, ed. , in the Konkordanz zu den Qumrantexten (Gottingen: 
Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1960). 

17. Cf. Arndt and Gingrich, op. cit . , " ouranos . " 

18. For further elaboration on the patristic use of ouranos , see G. W. 
Lampe, ed. , A Patristic Greek Lexicon Fascicle 4 (Oxford: at the 
Clarendon Press, 1965), "ouranos . " 

19. See A. Plummer, The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians , in 
The International Critical Commentary (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1915), p. 338. 

20. See H. A. W. Meyer, A Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the 
Epistles to the Corinthians (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1884), 
p. 676. 

21. Plummer, op. cit . , p. 343. 

22. Cf. Arndt and Gingrich, op. cit. , " paradeisos ." 

23. See above in the discussion of heaven in the Intertestamental Period. 

24. See H. Alford, The Greek Testament , Vol. II, 5th ed. (London: 
Rivingtons, 1865), p. 710. 

25. Plummer, op. cit . , p. 342. He certainly was conscious of receiv- 
ing words ( hremata ) from the Lord in the place to which he was 
transferred, for he heard ( ekousen ) them, and he states that as 
man ( anthr5pos ) it is not lawful for him to speak them. 

26. In the Patristics likewise it is born out that the body of Christ went 
into heaven ( anabainon hos anthropos kai anapherdn eis ton ouranon 
hen ephorei sarka ), Ath. Ar. 348. Lampe, op. cit . , " ouranos . " 

27. Christ's resurrection body, the physical body in which He was 
crucified (compare the scars evident as a result of the nails and 
spear, Luke 24:39, 40 John 20:25, 27) and in which He ascended 
(Acts 1:9-11) was one, as to its form and substance, as was true 
in its character before death, that could be touched (Matt. 28:9; 
John 20:25-28), assimilate food (Luke 24:30, 42, 43), occupy space 
(His body that was touched was confined within a room, John 20:26- 
28), and yet it was a body which could somehow appear and disappear 
instantly (Luke 24:31; John 20:19, 26). It is this kind of body to 
which the resurrection body of the Christian is to be made like 
( metaschematisei. . . summorphon , Phil. 3:21) and which kind of 
body that shall rise in space to meet Christ in the air according to 
I Thess. 4:16, 17, in which passage not only the dead in Christ but 
also those who live in a physical body at the time shall rise in the 
clouds to meet the Lord. This hardly seems to be a body devoid of 
flesh (in the resurrection, an immortal and incorruptible flesh, or 
fleshly material substance, which has been delivered from Adam's 
curse) as suggested by Oscar Cullmann, Immortality of the Soul or 
Resurrection of the Body (London: The Epworth Press, 1958) pp. 
37, 45, 46. 

28. Observe his recognition of the cloudy heavens in I Thess. 4:16, 17. 


Dean, Lancaster School of the Bible 

Two books have been written in recent years which expound the 
modern version of necromancy. The first is called A Gift of Prophecy and 
is the story of Jeane Dixon and her amazing series of predictions. The 
second book, A Search for the Truth , was written by the same author, Mrs. 
Ruth Montgomery, only this time the story revolves around her own adven- 
tures in the realm of the psychic. She, too, like her friend, Jeane Dixon, 
has experienced contact with the "other side" through a "control" or a 
spirit who is able to impersonate the voice of the dead. 

In each case the woman claims to be a devout believer in God. Mrs. 
Montgomery describes Jeane Dixon in this manner: 

. . .Jeane Dixon has declined to accept any remuneration 
for a talent which she believes God bestowed on her for 
a purpose. Devoutly religious, she will use her strange 
gift only for the benefit of others. She believes that if 
she were to take money she might lose this talent. *■ 

For Jeane Dixon, having a vision is similar to what David said in Psalm 23, 
"My cup runneth over. " 

Once you have had a vision like that nothing in this 
world can awe you. You feel that at last you understand 
the word 'love. ' You know what it is truly to worship 
God. You yearn to develop the talent that He has assigned 
you; to do His work on this earth. 

Reference is made to the story of Saul and the witch of Endor (and 
many other supernatural appearances) as Biblical evidence that what they 
are doing is within the scope of the will of God. 

The spirit of Samuel conversed with Saul in I Samuel. 
An angel came to feed Elijah, in I Kings; and angels 
protected the three Hebrew children from the fiery 



furnace, in the third chapter of Daniel. The book of 
Daniel also records that 'then was the secret revealed to 
Daniel in a vision. ' 3 

After all, did not the witch bring up Samuel at the request of Saul? Further, 
was there not a genuine message from God which came from this seance, 
and did it not come to pass exactly as the spirit-medium indicated? 

Historically, this passage has been appealed to from both sides of 
the fence. Some would like it to prove that we can indeed keep in touch 
with our dead loved ones. Others, such as the Seventh Day Adventists, go 
to great lengths to prove it was not a real appearance, because they have 
already decided that the dead are unconscious. 

There is reason enough, therefore, to investigate this portion of 
God's revealed Word in order to discern the mind and purpose of God in 
this event. Was Samuel really called up from the dead, and if so, by 
whom? Or was it in reality all a trick? Or, perhaps Satan used this as an 
opportunity to confuse Saul. It is the purpose of this study to seek answers 
to these questions. 


Here is a man of definite contrasts. Indeed, it is so much so that 
the very conversion of Saul is a subject of valid dispute. He seems at one 
time to be repentant, but immediately thereafter he lapses back into a 
state of vicious attack on his own son (cf. I Sam. 20:33). The reason this 
particular fact is mentioned stems from the fact that at the outset of this 
incident Saul is presented as having outlawed all kinds of necromancy in 
strict obedience to the Law (Deut. 18:10-14), but when he fails to obtain 
the needed information from the Lord, immediately he turns to that which 
he has condemned. 

That which Saul condemned included but two of the many forms of 
divination prohibited by the Law of Moses: "Turn ye not unto them that have 
familiar spirits, nor unto the wizards; seek them not out, to be defiled by 
them: I am Jehovah your God" (Lev. 19:31). 

Unger mentions a number of other types of divination, among which 
are hepatoscopy (looking in the liver), belomancy (watching arrows fall 
various ways), teraphim (consulting ancestral images) (cf. Ezek. 21:21 
for all three), astrology (consulting the heavenly bodies, cf. Isa. 47:13), 
hydromancy (watching how an object floats to which side of a cup) (cf. 
Gen. 44:5 where this may be Joseph's way of hiding his real identity), and 
rhabdomancy (using a diving rod, cf. Hos. 4:12). 4 


Saul's concern may have been wider than the two things mentioned, 
and even these are probably two aspects of one type of divination, necro- 
mancy (consulting the spirits of the dead). The "familiar spirit," or > ob = , 
being the demon present in the body, and the "wizard" or the "knowing one" 
as the same thing. 5 Whatever lay behind his sudden concern for this part 
of the Law while he attempted to murder David and Jonathan on different 
occasions, the fact remains that this very act was about to backfire against 


The Strength of the Enemy 

At the beginning of I Samuel 28, three things indicate that this was 
"a war upon a much larger scale than any that had been carried on since 
the defeat of the Philistines in the valley of Elah. "6 First, it is said that 
"the Philistines gathered together all their hosts" (28:1). This included 
"lords" by the hundreds and thousands, plus David and his small band who 
were still with them. Second, the place where they assembled their armies 
was Shunem, from the Hebrew word sunayim which means "two resting 
places," according to Gesenius.? Thus, 

The two armies were therefore encamped on the two 
groups of mountains that enclosed the broad plain of 
Jezreel toward the east, or, more precisely, the south- 
east, between which stretched a valley-plain. From an 
elevation of about twelve hundred feet Saul could see the 
Philistine camp, which was only four miles distant. ° 

The Shock of the King 

Such a sight had telling effect upon Saul. Perhaps there were several 
contributing circumstances to his feeling of fear, even to the point of 
"trembling greatly. " For one thing, Samuel was dead (28:1) and Saul had 
depended much upon him, even though Samuel had to tell him of his sins 
and blunders. This was a great personal loss to Saul, comparable to the 
loss of Moses when Joshua was then driven to a dependence upon God. In 
addition, there was a corollary to this, namely Saul's spiritual loss. He 
had been drifting away from the Lord for many years, and even though he 
was mentally disturbed and depressed, he had enough presence of mind to 
forbid the practice of divination. No doubt this was an emergency measure, 
to bolster up what spiritual presence of mind remained, but to little avail. 


Finally, there was political loss upon his mind. Long since he had been 
told that the kingdom would be taken from him and now that the Philistines 
were attacking, he did not know which way to turn! Chapman summarizes 
it well: 

. . .and it was especially inconvenient to Saul that this 
trouble of war should occur when, by reason of Samuel's 
long discountenance of his reign, the gradual alienation 
of able men, the loss to the kingdom of David's powers, 
and his own private sorrows, it was not possible to gather 
adequate forces and act with wonted energy. 9 

The Silence of God 

On top of all his troubles, Saul could get no response from the Lord. 
After a superficial reading, it would seem that God was unjust. Saul had 
tried the three means at his disposal to obtain spiritual help, had he not? 
God had often spoken to His people through dreams, such as Joseph experi- 
enced, the Urim and the Thummim were possibly two stones in the breast- 
plate of the ephod of the high priest used for making decisions within the 
will of the Lord, and the prophets received direct revelation. Why then 
did God not answer, even in a negative way? The answer may be found 
again in Saul's spiritual condition. When Samuel appears, he reminds 
Saul that Jehovah is his adversary (28:16) so that there is no real reason 
for the Lord to answer. But even more to the point is the statement of 
I Chronicles 10:13-14. "So Saul died for his trespass which he committed 
against Jehovah, because of the word of Jehovah, which he kept not; and 
also for that he asked counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire 
thereby, and inquired not of Jehovah: therefore he slew him, and turned 
the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse." 

This seems to confuse the issue further. Saul did inquire of the 
Lord--or did he? Outwardly, of course, he made the attempt, but his 
heart was not right. Edersheim well observes: 

As the event proved, Saul did not really enquire of the 
Lord, in the sense of seeking directions from Him, and 
of being willing to be guided by it. Rather did he, if we 
may so express it, wish to use the Lord as the means by 
which to obtain his object. But that was essentially the 
heathen view, and differed only in detail, not in principle 
from the enquiry of a familiar spirit, to which he after- 
wards resorted. 10 



A Disguise and a Request 

In his great extremity Saul became desperate for some kind of 
guidance. His recourse was to ask his servants to find a woman who had a 
"familiar spirit" so he could inquire of her. Spence refers to the possible 
identification of the two men and the witch: 

Jewish tradition speaks of the two men who accom- 
panied Saul as Abner and Amasa, and further mentions 
that the witch of En-dor was the mother of the great 
Abner. If this be true, it would account for her having 
escaped the general pursuit after witches mentioned above 
in the early days of Saul. H 

However, this is only tradition at best. It would seem rather that 
the woman should be considered as an unknown Canaanite. William Deane 
reminds us that 

Endor was one of those whence Manasseh had failed to 
expel the old tenants, and it was still inhabited by a mixed 
population, comprising many Canaanites, who retained 
their old superstitions, and were imitated by their Jewish 
fellow -citizens. 12 

Deane has in mind Judges 1:27 where the tribe of Manasseh failed 
to drive out the inhabitants of Dan, among other towns. An additional 
argument against the witch being the mother of Abner is the distance from 
the tribe of Benjamin where Abner 's family originated. 

Whoever she was, Saul did not want her to know who he was, and so 
disguised himself, and took the further precaution of going to see her at 
night. There is as much mystery in how she finally recognized Saul as 
there is in the appearance of the king at such an unusual place. Saul 
obviously did not want his own people to know that he was breaking his own 
law. He had tried to enforce a law concerning a vow against Jonathan 
sometime before, so now he must not be caught doing what he himself had 
forbidden. Later, the woman does recognize Saul, but for the moment he 
is safe. 

His request would not sound unusual to this spirit-medium. No 
doubt many times before she had been called upon to do the same type of 
thing, and had given satisfaction to her inquirers. From the viewpoint of 
Saul, it indicates how low he had sunk spiritually. For all his drifting 
away from Jehovah, it is never once said of him that he worshipped false 


gods. Even though he may have been insincere in his worship, it was 
always to Jehovah. But now, he resorts to another means, forbidden by 
the Lord and thus, in effect, idolatry. 

A Denial and a Reassurance 

As a matter of protection, the woman reminds the stranger that 
the king had made it very difficult, yea impossible for such a practice to 
continue. It would seem that more conversation than the divine record has 
preserved is implied. In such a dangerous situation this woman would have 
talked to Saul's servants beforehand to ascertain their genuine desire for 
a seance, and to know how they had heard of her. Only then would she have 
made final inquiry of the stranger himself as a delaying tactic if not an 
outright refusal to reveal her professional talent. 

So it was then, that Saul swore by Jehovah that no guilt would fall 
to her for that which she would do. This reassurance may have been the 
first indication to her that this was no ordinary man, but it hardly seems 
that the full impact of his identification had gotten through to her at this 
point. After she fully recognized him as Saul, her mind may have flashed 
back to this statement, as she thought, "How can anyone give such a 
guarantee that Iwill not be held responsible for flaunting a royal prohibition?" 

A Discovery and a Reaction 

In order to fulfill her task, the witch had to know specifically who 
it was he wanted to contact. "Bring me up Samuel" replied the king. Here 
is a second point of reference which (when coupled with the authoritative 
assurance that she would not die for what she was about to attempt) would 
naturally cause her to classify this stranger in a more definite category. 
Benson also notes that, in the next verse (28:12), the Hebrew particle 
translated "when" is not in the text so that the phrase "And when she saw 
Samuel she cried with a loud voice" should be "And she saw Samuel and 
cried with a loud voice. "^ This fact supports the idea that the whole thing 
happened rather quickly, and that the period during which she was not 
fully aware of Saul's identification was short, indeed. Blaikie adds this 

A shriek from her indicates that she is as much 
astonished and for the moment frightened as anyone can 
be. Evidently she did not expect such an apparition. The 
effect was much too great for the cause. She sees that in 
this apparition a power is concerned much beyond what 
she can wield. Instinctively she apprehends that the only 
man of importance enough to receive such a supernatural 
visit must be the head of the nation. 14 


All the foregoing leads us to believe that her entire scheme of 
things had no time to get into operation. Just as Saul said "Bring me up 
Samuel, " immediately Samuel appeared! At that instant, the full reaction 
set in. Thou art Saul! Why have you deceived me? Now I will have to be 
cut off! Doubtless the woman would not have been calmed without the quick 
reassurance from the king himself- -"Fear not, what seest thou?" Now 
the question to be answered is just this, what did the woman see, and how 
was it all made possible? 


A number of theories have been forthcoming in an effort to clarify 
and define what actually happened at Endor. Did anything or anyone actually 
appear? As each of these is considered, the final appeal must be, "To the 
law and to the testimony" (Isa. 8:20), what saith the Scriptures? 

A Mental Impression 

Our modern young people have been plagued by a minority group in 
which the "in" crowd can taste of "reality" only through the use of hallu- 
cinatory drugs. When these drugs are absorbed into the body, the effect 
on the individual is so unusual that the mind is expanded, and things are 
seen which can never be observed under normal circumstances. Something 
like this may have occurred in the case under consideration. This is the 
opinion of Erdmann in Lange's Commentary : 

Proceeding on the supposition of a connection with 
mysterious powers, and perhaps under the excitation of 
narcotics, the women especially (as in heathen magic) 
who made necromancy a trade, might, through a fit 
psychical-somatical character, fall into an ecstatic, 
visionary state (as modern science supposes in somnam- 
bolic and magnetic phenomena) in which with superstitious 
self-deception they had inward perception of the things 
or persons inquired for (the inquirers of course seeing 
nothing), and uttered their recollections or anticipations 
in dull, suppressed tones, so that it seemed as if the 
utterance came from other voices, particularly as if the 
professedly summoned person spoke. 15 

A number of objections to this theory can be listed: 

1. Such a mental state might possibly produce a kind of vision of 
Samuel, but it would never be in the orderly fashion as the text records. 


2. As a corollary, such a visual appearance would not have 
produced prophecies which would come true in so many details, and so soon. 

3. Under the influence of narcotics, it would be highly unlikely 
that the woman could have had such an orderly conversation with Saul at all. 

4. It is unprecedented that God would lower Himself to the use 
of such a method to produce His Word. 

5. This is contrary to the plain statement of the text, which, if 
read without presuppositions of a narcotic trance on the part of the woman, 
evinces a normal conversation between Saul and Samuel. 

A Psychological Identification 

Closely allied to the previous theory, this view takes ecstasy as the 
means of producing the illusion of Samuel. Accordingly, Saul would still 
not have seen anything, but the woman had so allowed herself to become 
emotionally involved and psychologically identified with Samuel, that such 
a vision was produced. In this case, narcotics need not be involved. This 
is a common "experience" of modern-day mediums who claim to have 
actually had visions of people. This does not necessitate demon control 
or direction, as many such experiences do, to be sure, but it can happen 
as a purely psychological reaction, as Erdmann notes: 

This can be explained psychologically only as by an inner 
vision , the occasion for which was given by Saul's request 
to bring up Samuel, and the psychological foundation of 
which was her inward excitement, in connection with her 
lively recollection of Samuel's form, which was well known 
to her from his earthly life, and stood before her mind 
in vividest distinctness. 16 

Objections to this view include the following: 

1. If the woman had worked herself into this ecstatic state of 
mind, she would hardly have cried out with a loud voice upon seeing Samuel; 
she would have been expecting to see him. 

2. If demonic activity were not involved, source of the knowledge 
would necessarily have to be from God, directly or indirectly, and though 
it is true that God spoke in visions before through an unbeliever, namely, 
Balaam, in Numbers 22-24, here the text plainly shows that she was one 
whose practice was to use a familiar spirit. Thus, it is not likely that God 
used such a vessel through whom He channelled divine truth of things about 
to happen. 


3. Even in the prophecies of Balaam, there was no individual 
who came in between the prophet and the Lord in order to produce the 
message. Balaam received the message and gave it to the people of Israel. 

4. To repeat the same objection as against the previous theory, 
a simple reading of the text leads one to believe that a normal conversation 
took place between Saul and Samuel with no intermediary. 

A Satanic Impersonation 

A third possibility along the same line as the two previous inter- 
pretations has to do this time with a real form appearing visibly, not just 
in the mind of the woman. Either Satan himself, or one of his demons 
responded in the usual way to the divination of the woman. In such a case, 
it would be necromancy without a doubt, not involving the actual disturb- 
ance of the dead, but a supranatural impersonation of Samuel by a demonic 
being. As Unger says, 

. . . it is not the case of a medium bringing back the 
spirit of a deceased person. . . . Evil spirits imper- 
sonate the dead, but they cannot produce them. Only 
God can do that, as He did in this case. 1 7 

Objections to this satanic or demonic view come from various 
sources, and may be noted as: 

1. The name of Satan or the fact of demon intervention is not 

Some consider that Satan, in whose service this enchant- 
ress was employed, conjured up a personified likeness 
of Samuel, and that there was an apparition, though a 
fictitious one. But undoubtedly the historian would have 
mentioned Satan by name, had this been the case, and 
not have so repeatedly spoken of Samuel, when the father 
of lies was meant. To adopt such an hypothesis is, as 
Henderson ( Inspiration , pp. 140-145) justly remarks, 
'contrary to the style of the sacred writers, and to 
unsettlethe entire basis of divinely inspirednarrative!'18 

2. Satan is powerful enough to appear even as "an angel of light" 
(2 Cor. 11:14), and he has a lot of knowledge, but even he cannot predict 
the future in such detail so accurately. Scott expounds this objection more 


Satan could not have predicted the several events, which 
came to pass accordingly, as far as we know, without 
being inspiredof God to do so; and it would give far more 
countenance to consulting witches, to suppose that He 
inspired Satan to prophesy by them, than to conclude that 
Samuel was sent with this tremendous message from God, 
when Saul consulted one of them. Indeed, this would most 
powerfully discourage such attempts ; as the request of the 
rich man in hell to Abraham, being entirely vain, is cal- 
culated to discourage praying to departed saints. *9 

3. Even though the woman was terrified at what she saw, this 
does not mean that Satan intervened and caused her to see something that 
she did not expect. As will be shown later, her terror was experienced 
because God intervened and brought up the real Samuel. 

4. Satan, or even an evil spirit, would be acting against himself 
as Christ said, "if Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his 
kingdom stand?" (Luke 11:18), in pronouncing judgment on Saul. This 
objection is raised by Spence: 

An evil spirit personating Samuel would not have spoken 
thus; he would not have wished to help David, "the man 
after God's own heart," to the throne of Israel, nor would 
an evil spirit have spoken in such solemn terms of the 
punishment due to rebellion against God. 20 

A Deliberate Deception 

Getting away from the miraculous now, or even from some kind of 
simulated or psychological vision, there are some who believe that the 
woman was an impostor, one who, if she had any powers with familiar 
spirits, did not resort to any such thing on this occasion. Rather, she 
used pure and simple trickery, taking advantage of Saul. James Orr is 
one important proponent of this view: 

It may conceivably have been so, but the more reasonable 
view is that the whole transaction was a feigning on the 
part of the woman. The LXX uses the word eggastrimuthos 
("a ventriloquist") to describe the woman and those who 
exercised kindred arts (vs. 9). Though pretending igno- 
rance (vs. 12) the woman doubtless recognizes Saul from 
the first. It was she who saw Samuel, and reported his 
words ; the king himself saw and heard nothing. It required 
no great skill in a practiced diviner to forecast the general 
issue of the battle about to take place, and the disaster 


that would overtake Saul and his sons; while if the fore- 
cast had proved untrue, the narrative would never have 
been written. Saul, in fact, was not slain, but killed 
himself. The incident, therefore, may best be ranked in 
the same category as the feats of modern mediumship.21 

Several objections may be gleaned from the text of Orr's statement: 

1. The woman reported the words of Samuel. Only by eisegesis 
(reading into the text something which is not there) can this be sustained. 
The Bible does not say that the woman reported Samuel's words. 

2. Orr says that the king saw and heard nothing. This is reading 
the story with a preconceived idea. The inspired record repeatedly states 
that Samuel talked with Saul and Saul answered directly. 

3. He further states that she guessed the outcome of the battle, 
and what would happen to Saul and his sons. She might be able to guess 
that Israel would be defeated, but she could hardly guess that Saul and his 
sons would be killed. They might have escaped by hiding or by fleeing. 

4. Finally, he says it was all a trick through the use of ventril- 
oquism. She could have made up a story and reported it through a feigned 
voice, but she would certainly not take the chance of being wrong concerning 
the death of the king and his princes, or, for that matter, about the defeat 
of Israel. This would be especially true in view of the fact that those with 
familiar spirits had been outlawed with the death penalty for those who 
persisted in the practice. There are other examples of false prophets who 
said good things about the king when they were unsure about the outcome 
of a battle (cf. 2 Chron. 18:4-7). They were not taking any chances. 

A Real Apparition 

That which satisfies the general scriptural doctrine as well as the 
specific context, is that Samuel really appeared by direction of God Himself 
and that the woman, Satan, or demons had nothing to do with it. 

A summary of that which actually happened will be helpful, and then 
support for this view can be shown to answer the supposed objections to it. 

The factors leading up to the point at which Saul said "Bring me up 
Samuel" (I Sam. 28:11) have already been discussed. It was also noted 
that the Hebrew particle for the English word "when" is not in the original 
text of verse 12. Thus, the translation is not "And when the woman saw 
Samuel, she cried. . . " but simply "And the woman saw Samuel; she 


cried. ..." In a reconstruction of the scene, therefore, there is no warrant 
for a long period of time between verses 11 and 12; as a matter of fact, there 
is no reasonfor any time lapse between Saul's request and the electrifying, 
sudden appearance of Samuel which caused the woman to cry aloud. Unger 
aptly describes it in this way; allowing for a short period of preparation: 

The woman doubtless began to make her customary prep- 
arations, expecting as usual, to lapse into a trance-like 
state, and be used by her "control" or "divining demon," 
who would then proceed to impersonate the individual 
called for. The startling thing, however, was that the 
usual occult procedure was abruptly cut short by the 
sudden and totally unexpected appearance of Samuel. The 
medium was consequently transfixed with terror, and 
screamed out with shock and fright, when she perceived 
that God had stepped in, and by His power and special 
permission, Samuel's actual spirit was present to pro- 
nounce final doom upon Saul. The sight of Samuel was 
the proof of divine intervention, and was indubitable 
evidence that the man in disguise was Saul. 22 

If there was no period of preparation, the shock would have been 
even more pronounced upon the woman. This is preferable in light of the 
missing word "when." 

At this point in the narrative the woman recognized Saul, and with 
his reassuring reply that she should not be afraid, he also asked for a 
description of that which she saw. Replying, she gave an accurate account 
of the aged Samuel dressed in a meil, or a judge's robe, commonly worn 
in that time. There is no reason given why the woman saw Samuel first, 
if indeed, Saul ever saw him. It can be said that part of God's purpose in 
having Samuel appear was as a divine rebuke to occultism. This helps to 
explain why she saw him first. But did Saul actually see Samuel at all? 
The text uses the words "And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he 
bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. " At first reading it 
would seem that two things militate against the possibility of Saul seeing 
Samuel, namely that the word is "perceive" not "saw," and that in such a 
position he could not see anything but the earth beneath his face. 

The word "perceive" is the Hebrew word yada' , "to know. " 

According to Gesenius the word yada* means 'to 
know, ' 'to be acquainted with.' In the King James 
Version the word is translated 'to know, ' 678 times out 
of the 773 times it is used. Saul was not guessing for the 
narrative plainly says that Saul knew he was Samuel. 23 


This would at the very least allow, if not prove, that Saul saw 
Samuel. As Baum goes on to say, the text indicates a direct conversation 
between Saul and Samuel (28:15, 16, 20) but he does not quite say that Saul 
saw Samuel. Possibly because Saul was bowed with his face to the earth, 
it is hard to conceive of any visual contact on Saul's part. It need not be 
so, however, Bowing to the earth in the presence of the supernatural, or 
even before men, was common practice in the Old Testament and in the 
New Testament, but this does not mean that the person remained in that 
position indefinitely. Abraham bowed before his supernatural visitors in 
Genesis 18:1-8, but he soon got up and prepared a meal for them. Lot 
had two angels as overnight guests at Sodom, according to Genesis 19:1-3, 
and he bowed himself with his face to the earth, but only for an instant. In 
like manner, Jacob bowed seven times to the earth as he met Esau his 
brother (Gen. 33:7). These types of incidents could be multiplied. The 
point is simply this, that Saul did not stay in this position, for later on in 
the conversation, in verse 20, we are informed that "then Saul fell straight- 
way his full length upon the earth." It could possibly be argued that he had 
been bowing all the time and at the end of the conversation he merely 
straightened out, but this is strictly a matter of choice of interpretation. 
On the basis of the analogy of Scripture where the practice of bowing occurs, 
it was only at the beginning of the conversation, even in some cases where 
the divine presence of God is involved. 

Ellicott expresses the opinion that Saul may have seen Samuel 
before he bowed: 

It seems probable at this juncture the king saw the 
form before him when he did obeisance. It is, however, 
not clear, from the language here used, whether this 
strange act of reverent homage did not at once follow the 
description of the woman. 24 

Unger also prefers this viewpoint: 

After the woman's further description of Samuel as 
'an old man' coming up, 'covered with a robe' (I Samuel 
15:27), [wrong text in the original; correct text is I Samuel 
28:14] Saul seems to have glimpsed the spirit of Samuel 
also, for 'he bowed with his face to the ground, and did 
obeisance' (v. 14), and the conversation proceeded 
directly, without any further employment of the woman. 25 

Some might wonder about and object to the fact that Samuel was 
"disquieted." Does this prove that it was not really Samuel after all? Does 
it mean that Satan, or a demon, or even the woman by trickery, said this 
to deceive Saul? Further, can a spirit be brought back from the dead? 


The statement does not mean that Saul brought Samuel back, or that it is 
possible for anyone to do such a thing, including Satan himself. Of course, 
Saul was responsible, in a sense, for the incident: 

But Samuel might well complain of Saul's sin, as the 
cause of his mission, without in any way imputing any- 
thing to God who sent him. He might well complain that 
Saul had resorted to magical arts to bring him up and he 
might well be disturbedwith godly sorrow and indignation 
on this account. . . . Even the Holy One o f God who 
dwells in heavenly bliss, said to Saul of Tarsus, on his 
way to Damascus, 'Saul! Saul! Why persecutest thou me?' 
(Acts 9:4). 26 

Surely this was a highly unusual thing for God to do, and one would 
be hard pressed to find its counterpart anywhere in the Bible, except to 
say that angelic beings have appeared on earth in corporeal form, and that 
Moses appeared in glory possibly as a spirit being without a body, on the 
Mount of Transfiguration. The problem is not at all in the power of God to 
accomplish this, but in His purpose for so doing. It is certainly not a 
contradiction to the story in Luke 16:19-31 wherein Jesus tells of the 
departure of the rich man and Lazarus. It is true that the saved and unsaved 
were separated by a great gulf, but the only affirmation there is that they 
could not pass from one place to the other. Abraham does not say that a 
spirit cannot return, "but only describes it as useless and ineffectual, so 
far as the conversion of the ungodly is concerned. "27 

What was the purpose of God, then, in performing such an act? 
One purpose has already been noted, that God wanted to show His distaste 
for divination. Unger observes that this unprecedented appearance was 
allowed "because it was for the unique intent of divine rebuke and warning 
to all who resort to occultism, and particularly, to pronounce immediate 
sentence on Saul for this, his final plunge into ruin (I Chron. 10:13). 28 
Jamieson's reasons may be summarized in three categories: 

1. To make Saul's crime the instrument of his punishment. 

2. To show to the heathen world God's superiority in prophecy. 

3. To confirm a belief in a future state after death. 29 


Even if there is some question as to why God chose such a method 
to get through to Saul, there should, at this point, be little question that it 


was God who did it. If extra -biblical evidence is added, there are three 
who witness to the reality of Samuel's appearance. In the apocryphal book 
of Ecclesiasticus 16:20 it is recorded of Samuel, that, "after his death, 
he prophesied, and showed the king his end." The Septuagint adds to 
I Chronicles 10:13 "Saul asked counsel of her that had a familiar spirit, 
to inquire of her, and Samuel made answer to him. " 

Josephus also says, in Antiquities 6:14:2, that it was Samuel who 
appeared and prophesied to Saul. 

What, then, did Samuel's prophecy include? The text suggests four 
things which caused great consternation on the part of Saul, described by 
Whitcomb^O as "four blows" to Saul: 

Spiritual death (v. 16) "Jehovah is departed from thee 
and is become thine adversary. " 

Political death (v. 17) "Jehovah hath rent the kingdom out 
of thy hand and given it to thy neighbor, even to David. " 

Military death (v. 19) "Jehovah will deliver the host of 
Israel into the hand of the Philistines. " 

Physical death (v. 19) "tomorrow thou and thy sons shall 
be with me. " 

Little wonder then, that Saul fell straightway his full length upon 
the earth, and was "sore afraid" because of Samuel's prophecy, and had 
to be coaxed to eat. Poor Saul! His consternation was well-founded, for 
it would soon eventuate in sure calamity! 


There are a number of mysteries about Saul. Was he a truly con- 
verted man? Did his mind become psychologically deranged or organically 
affected so that he became insanely enamored with the need for success and 
self-preservation? Did God really send Samuel back after death to prophesy 
to him? 

We have dealt with just one of these, tracing the incident from the 
place where Saul, faced with a major battle, makes several superficial 
attempts to consult God, and receives no answer, through the long night 
journey to Endor to consult the spiritist, to the final outcome when God 
intervened with the message of doom from Samuel. 


Admittedly, there are difficulties in the text; this is the reason for 
the investigation. But when all the theological smoke clears, we are con- 
vinced that the Biblical account sustains the fact that this incident was a 
divine work of God. 


1. Ruth Montgomery, A Gift of Prophecy (New York: Bantam Books, 
1966), p. ix. 

2. Ibid . , p. 24. 

3. Ruth Montgomery, A Search for the Truth (New York: William 
Morrow and Company, Inc. , 1967), p. 273. 

4. Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology (Wheaton: Van Kampen 
Press, Inc., 1952), pp. 130-133. 

5. Ibid. , pp. 144-145. 

6. Robert P. Smith in the Pulpit Commentary , I Samuel (New York: 
Funk & Wagnalls, n. d. ), p. 520. 

7. William Gesenius, Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance (Grand Rapids: 
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964), p. 811. 

8. David Erdmann, in Lange's Commentary , Vol. 5, The Books of 
Samuel, ed. by Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing 
House, 1960), p. 330. 

9. C. Chapman, in Pulpit Commentary , ibid. , p. 525. 

10. Alfred Edersheim, Bible History , Vol. 4 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. 
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1959), p. 140. 

11. H. D. M. Spence, Ellicott's Bible Commentary , Vol. 2, ed. by 
Charles J. Ellicott (London: Cassell and Company, n. d. ), p. 416. 

12. William J. Deane, Samuel and Saul (New York: Anson D. Randolph 
and Company, n. d. ), p. 203. 

13. Joseph Benson, The Holy Bible with Critical Explanatory and 
Practical Notes , Vol. 1 (New York: Carlton and Porter, n.d. ), p. 845. 

14. William G. Blaikie, An Exposition of the Bible , Vol. II (Hartford: 
S. S. Scranton Company, 1908), p. 105. 

15. Erdmann, op. cit . , p. 336. 

16. Ibid. , p. 332. 

17. Unger, ibid. , p. 150. 

18. Robert Jamieson, Commentary on the Whole Bible , Vol. 2 (Grand 
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1948). 

19. Thomas Scott, The Holy Bible, Vol. II (Boston: Samuel T. Armstrong, 
Crocker and Brewster, 1831), p. 101. 


20. H. D. M. Spence, in A Bible Commentary for English Readers , 
Vol. II, ed. by Charles J. Ellicott (London: Cassell and Company, 
Limited, n. d. ), p. 419. 

21. James Orr, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand 
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1939), p. 944. 

22. Unger, ibid . , p. 149. 

23. Archer Baum, The Appearance of Samuel at Endor (Winona Lake: 
An unpublished monograph, Grace Theological Seminary, 1953), 
p. 47. 

24. Ellicott, ibid . , p. 419. 

25. Unger, ibid . , p. 151. 

26. Christian Wordsworth, The Holy Bible with Notes , Vol. II (London: 
Revington's, 1873), Part II, p. 63. 

27. C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Books of 
Samuel (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 
1963), p. 268. 

28. Unger, ibid. , p. 150. 

29. Jamieson, op. cit . 

30. John C. Whitcomb, Jr. "Samuel to Solomon" (Winona Lake: Unpub- 
lished class notes, Grace Theological Seminary, 1968). 


Professor of Church History 
Philadelphia College of Bible 

According to the angel Gabriel, the seventy weeks of years mentioned 
in Daniel 9:24-27 would begin with the issuance of a commandment or decree 
to restore and to build Jerusalem. The first sixty-nine of these weeks (483 
years) would end during the life of Messiah, and sometime after their end 
Messiah would be "cut off" or put to death. 

Most Dispensationalists have concluded that the decree which began 
the seventy weeks historically was King Artaxerxes' decree issued to 
Nehemiah in 445 B.C. If this decree is to be accepted as the fulfillment of 
Daniel 9, then it must be demonstrated that 483 years from 445 B.C. ended 
during the life of Christ and before His death. The only way in which that 
can be demonstrated is through the chronological data relating to the life 
of Christ which are given in the New Testament. This study, then, is 
dealing with the following question: does the New Testament confirm the 
conclusion that Artaxerxes ' decree to Nehemiah in 445 B.C. was the starting 
point of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9? 

It is crucial to note again at the outset that the first 483 years 
(sixty-nine weeks) of the seventy weeks was to end before Christ was put 
to death. That would mean, then, that the latest possible time in which 
that period could end was the year in which Christ died. If 483 years from 
445 B. C. goes to a time later than the year in which Christ died, then 
Artaxerxes' decree to Nehemiah would have to be rejected as the fulfillment 
of Daniel 9. It is very crucial, then, that we try to determine the year in 
which Christ died. The traditional view has been that Christ was crucified 
in 30 A. D. But, when prophetic years are used, 483 years from 445 B. C. 
brings time to 32 A. D. 1 Is it possible to place the death of Christ as late 
as 32 A. D.? In order to determine that, it will be necessary to investigate 
New Testament chronological data relating to several events in the life of 

First, we must try to determine when Christ was born. The gospels 
make it evident that He was born while Herod the Great was living. We 
know that Herod died late in March or early in April, 4 B.C. 2 Thus, Christ 



had to have been born before that time. Most scholars narrow the date 
down to 6 to 4 B. C. Finegan, following what he feels to be the best old 
sources, places the birth in midwinter of 5-4 B.C. --either December, 
5 B.C., or January 4 B. C. 3 

Second, we must try to determine when Christ was baptized and 
began His public ministry. Inasmuch as Christ was approximately six 
months younger than John the Baptist, it would be logical to assume that 
He began His ministry about six months after John began his (Lk. 1:36). 
According to Luke 3:1, John began his ministry in the fifteenth year of the 
reign of Tiberius Caesar. At first glance one would assume that it would 
be a very simple matter to determine exactly the time span covered by the 
fifteenth year of Tiberius. But such is not the case. Finegan demonstrated 
how there are sixteen different time spans that could possibly have been 
that fifteenth year.'* The reasons for so many possibilities are such 
variables as the choice between regnal or non-regnal years, Julian or non- 
Julian calendars, accession or non-accession year systems and 12 A.D. or 
14 A. D. as the starting point of Tiberius' reign. The earliest possible 
time span that could have been the fifteenth year was January 1 to December 
31, 26 A.D. The latest possible span was March -April, 29 A.D. to March- 
April, 30 A.D. 5 

In trying to determine which of the sixteen possibilities was the 
most likely, the first crucial thing to settle is the time when Tiberius began 
to reign. Augustus served as emperor until 14 A.D. , but he had appointed 
Tiberius to be his second in command in 12 A. D. When Augustus died on 
August 19, 14 A. D. , Tiberius succeeded him as emperor either on that 
date or on September 17, 14 A.D. 6 Now the question is: is Tiberius' reign 
to be reckoned from his appointment as second in command in 12 A.D. , or 
from his becoming emperor in 14 A.D. ? Those who hold to the traditional 
view that Christ was crucified in 30 A. D. choose the 12 A. D. date. This 
would mean that John would have begun his ministry in the Spring and Christ 
in the Fall of 26 A.D. But, Tacitus and Suetonius, two Roman historians 
who lived during the first and second centuries, recorded information about 
Tiberius that rules out the 12 A. D. date. They stated that Tiberius was 
not joint emperor with Augustus from 12 to 14 A. D. ; instead, he was 
associated with Augustus only in respect of the provinces and armies 
(Suetonius, Tiberius xxi; Tacitus, Ann, i.3.3; compare i.11.2 and iii.56.2). 
Tacitus also made it clear that, when Augustus died, " Tiberius was not 
regarded by himself or by others as already Emperor " ( Ann, i. 5-7). 
Suetonius supported this by stating that, for a time after Augustus' death, 
Tiberius refused the Roman senate's offer of the imperial off ice(Tib. xxiv.) . 
In addition to this, "No instance is known of reckoning the reign of Tiberius 
from his association with Augustus." Some coins from Antioch which 
supposedly did so reckon have been shown by Echkel not to be genuine. 
There are genuine coins from Antioch that date the reign of Tiberius from 


Augustus' death (note: Antioch was Luke's home town, so Luke would be 
prone to use 14 A.D. as the starting point).^ Josephus, the Jewish historian 
of the first century A. D. , followed the 14 A. D. date. 8 So did Sir William 
Ramsay, G. Ogg and A. R. Burn. 9. 10, 11 Finegan also saw this date as 
being more probable than 12 A. D. 12 It is the opinion of this study, then, 
that Tiberius' reign began in 14 A.D. 

With 14 A.D. as the starting point, the fifteenth year of Tiberius' 
reign would have been either in (1) 28 A.D. or (2) 29 A.D. or (3) in part of 
28 and part of 29 A. D. , depending upon whether the accession or non- 
accession system was used, and whether the Julian or non-Julian calendar 
was used. 13 When these three possibilities are studied thoroughly, it is 
seen that two out of the three choose 28 A. D. as the year in which both 
John and Christ began their ministries. i4 G. Ogg and Will Durant agreed 
with the 28 A.D. date. 15, 16 Later it will be seen that other chronological 
data in the gospel records fit well with this date. 

Because of the extreme heat in the Jordan depression during the 
summer, it is likely that John performed the major part of his ministry 
there during spring and fall.17 Statements that he made near the beginning 
of his ministry may indicate that he began that ministry in the spring. Such 
a statement as: "And even now the axe also lieth at the root of the trees; 
every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and 
cast into the fire" would point to the month of April. Fruit trees were 
pruned in March; thus, by April it would become evident which trees were 
no longer productive and needed to be cut down. The statement: "whose 
fan is in his hand, thoroughly to cleanse his threshingfloor, and to gather 
the wheat into his garner, " points to the harvest season. In the deep hot 
valley of the Jordan the harvest season came early--in June. *■& 

Since great crowds had been attracted to John before Jesus came to 
him (Mark 1:5), and since Christ was six months younger than John, it is 
probable that Christ was baptized and began His ministry in the late fall 
season. 19 This would mean that Christ began His ministry in the fall of 
28 A.D. Epiphanius, a bishop on Cyprus during the fourth and fifth centuries, 
declared that Christ was baptized in November of 28 A.D. 20 ft { s the 
conclusion of this study that Christ was baptized and began His ministry in 
the late fall of 28 A.D. 

The third New Testament chronological datum which must be 
investigated is that which is found in Luke 3:23. This verse deals with 
the age of Christ when He was baptized and began His ministry. The King 
James Version translates the verse as follows: "And Jesus himself began 
to be about thirty years of age, . . ." This translation gives the impression 
that Jesus was not quite thirty when baptized, but that He would be thirty on 
His next birthday. Upon this basis some who follow the tradition that Christ 


died in 30 A. D. construct the following chronology: Christ was born perhaps 
in December, 5 B.C. In the fall (perhaps November) of 26 A. D. Christ 
was baptized and began His ministry. This would mean that He was twenty- 
nine years old when baptized and would become thirty in just another month 
or so. Over three years later, He was crucified in 30 A. D. when thirty- 
three years old. 21 

The above chronological scheme falls together very well, but there 
is one big problem with it: it is based upon an incorrect translation of Luke 
3:23. Plummer pointed out that the King James translation of this verse 
"is impossible" in light of the Greek text. Cranmer led the way in this 
mistaken translation in the Bible of 1539, and the later versions followed 
it. According to Plummer, the proper translation is: " 'Jesus himself was 
about thirty years of age when He began.' "22 

Alford said the verse should be translated: " 'Jesus was about thirty 
years old when He began' (His ministry); not, 'began to be about, ' & c. , 
which is ungrammatical. "23 

A. T. Robertson wrote that the translation " 'began to be about thirty 
years of age,' is an impossible translation. "24 

The incorrect King James translation indicates that Christ was 
under thirty when baptized, but the correct translation also leaves room 
for Christ to have been over thirty when baptized. Indeed, Alford went so 
far as to say that the expression "about thirty" allowed latitude "only in 
one direction; viz. over thirty years. He could not well be under, seeing 
that this was the appointed age for the commencement of public service of 
God by the Levites: see Num. iv. 3, 23, 43, 47. "25 

How much time can be read into the word "about"? Those who hold 
the traditional view say that very little time can be read into it. They 
interpret the word in a narrow, more exact sense, indicating that it means 
that Christ was only a month or so under thirty and that He would be exactly 
thirty on His next birthday. But, in contrast to this view, Plummer wrote: 
"It is obvious that this verse renders little help to chronology. 'About 
thirty' may be anything from twenty-eight to thirty-two, --to give no wider 
margin. "26 

Nicoll stated that the term "about" means: "about, nearly, implying 
that the date is only approximate. It cannot be used as a fixed datum for 
chronological purposes. . . ."27 


A. T. Robertson expressed it this way: 

Luke does not commit himself definitely to pre- 
cisely thirty years as the age of Christ. The Levites 
entered upon full service at that age, but that proves 
nothing about Jesus. God's prophets enter upon their 
task when the word of God comes to them. Jesus may 
have been a few months under or over thirty or a year 
or two less or more. 28 

It is legitimate, then, to interpret the word "about" in a more 
broad, less exact sense than does the traditional view. Indeed, the broader 
interpretation may be the preferred one. 

Our conclusion on Luke 3:23, then, is this: when Christ was baptized, 
He may have been as much as thirty-two years of age. If Christ was born 
near the end of 5 B. C. and baptized in the fall of 28 A. D. , then He would 
have been thirty-one when baptized and would have been approaching His 
thirty-second birthday. 29 

The fourth New Testament chronological datum which must be 
investigated is that which is found in John 2:20. During the first Passover 
of Christ's ministry (John 2:11-13), Christ cleansed the Temple in Jeru- 
salem. 30 When the Jews demanded from Him a sign to substantiate His 
authority for this cleansing action, Christ said: "Destroy this temple, and 
in three days I will raise it up. " 

Thinking that Jesus referred to the Temple that He had cleansed, 
the Jews replied: "Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt 
thou raise it up in three days?" 

Many historians agree that Herod's Temple was not finally completed 
until 64 A. D.31 In the light of this, the Jews' statement in John 2:20 meant 
that, at the time of their statement, Herod's Temple was in the forty-sixth 
year of its building. If we could determine when Herod began his Temple, 
we could also determine the year in which the Jews made the statement in 
John 2:20. This in turn would help us determine when Christ was baptized 
and began His ministry. 

According to Josephus ( Antiquities xv), Herod " 'undertook to build' " 
his Temple in the eighteenth year of his reign. 32 Herod began to reign in 
37 B. C. , so his eighteenth year would have been 20 or 19 B.C. 33, 34 On 
the basis of Josephus' statement, those who hold the traditional view that 
Christ died in 30 A.D. conclude that Herod actually began to build the 
Temple in 20 B.C. Forty-six years from 20 B.C. would bring one to 27 


A. D. According to their way of reckoning, Christ was baptized in the fall 
of 26 A.D. Thus, the first Passover of Christ 's ministry (when the statement 
of John 2:20 was made) would have been in the spring of 27 A.D. 

Once again the traditional chronological scheme works out very well; 
however, once again there is a problem with it. Exactly what did Josephus 
mean when he wrote that Herod "undertook to build" his temple in the 
eighteenth year of his reign? Did he mean, as the traditionalists conclude, 
that Herod actually began to build in that year? Or did he mean that Herod 
began to lay plans and to make preparations in that year? There is a big 
difference between the two. Josephus' language could very well mean the 

As a result of his research, Caldecott concluded that two years 
were spent in preparation for building the Temple. Actual building began 
in 18 B.C. after: 

A thousand priests had been taught to be masons 
and carpenters; and thousands of sacerdotal garments 
had been got ready for them; ten thousand skilled work- 
men had also been chosen, nine hundred of whom had 
been working in the quarries and forests to procure great 
blocks of stone that were white and strong, and timber 
in abundance; a thousand wagons had transported the 
necessary new material to the spot. ... 35 

Ogg also concluded that Herod spent a couple years in preparation before 
actual building began. 36 it is our conclusion that Herod actually began to 
build the Temple in 18 B.C. 

Forty-six years from 18 B.C. would bring one to 29 A.D. According 
to our way of reckoning, Christ was baptized in the fall of 28 A. D. Thus, 
the first Passover of Christ's ministry (when the statement of John 2:20 was 
made) would have been in the spring of 29 A. D. From this it can be seen 
that the statement in John 2:20 substantiates very well our earlier conclusion 
that Christ was baptized in 28 A. D. 

The fifth New Testament chronological datum which must be 
investigated concerns the length of Christ's earthly ministry in His first 
coming. The only way that that can be determined with any degree of 
accuracy is by searching the gospel records to see how many Passovers 
were observed during Christ's ministry. The synoptic gospels mention 
only one Passover--the final one during which Christ was crucified (Mark 
14:12; Matt. 26:17; Luke 22:7). 37 On this basis one might conclude that 
Christ's ministry lasted only one year or less. But Irenaeus blasted such 


an idea in his work Against Heresies. 38 This may indicate that the early 
church considered the ministry to have lasted longer than one year. 

In addition, another synoptic passage (Mark 2:23; Matt. 12:1; Luke 
6:1) seems to refer to another springtime prior to the final one (the disciples 
plucked grain during the spring harvest season). This would mean a second 
Passover in Christ's ministry. "Since the baptism (Mk. 1:9) was obviously 
prior to that, perhaps in the preceding fall, the total ministry was at least 
somewhat over one year in length. " 399 

Inasmuch as the synoptic gospels may have allowed one Passover 
to go unmentioned, it could very well be that they allowed other Passovers 
to go unmentioned. Another possibility is that the synoptic records may 
have covered only a part of a longer ministry- -the part deemed most 
important. Thus, Christ's ministry mayhavebeen several years inlength.40 

The Gospel of John mentions three Passovers (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55). 
John 4:35 may imply a fourth. In that verse Jesus referred to a harvest 
(April or May) which was four months away. That would mean that He made 
His statement around January or February. In between the time of the 
statement and the time of the harvest a second unmentioned Passover would 
have fallen. This would make a total of four Passovers during Christ's 
ministry.41 With Jesus having been baptized and having begun His ministry 
in the fall preceding the first Passover "it seems that a total ministry of 
three years plus a number of months is indicated." Epiphanius considered 
the ministry to have lasted three years plus several months. Eusebius 
seemed to hold the same. 42 Most conservative Bible scholars today seem 
to agree with this. It is the conclusion of this study that Christ's earthly 
ministry lasted three years and several months --perhaps about three and 
one -half years. 

When traditionalists , who believe that Christ began His ministry in the 
fall of 26 A. D. , apply this three and one-half years to their chronological 
scheme, they end with Spring of 30 A.D. as the time of Christ's death. When 
this study, which believes that Christ began His ministry in the fall of 28 A.D. , 
applies this three and one -half years to its chronological scheme, it ends with 
Spring of 32 A.D. as the time of Christ's death. In the fourth century A. D. 
Bishop Epiphanius also concluded that Christ died in Spring, 32 A. D.43 

Earlier in this chapter we asked the following question: is it possible 
toplacethe death of Christ as late as 32 A.D. ? Our reasonfor having asked 
that question was found in two simple facts. First, if 483 years from 445 
B.C.goes to a time later than the year in which Christ died, then Artaxerxes ' 
decree toNehemiah would have to be rejected as the fulfillment of Daniel 9. 
Second, when prophetic years are used, 483 years from 445 B. C. brings 
the time to 32 A.D. 


Our investigation of the New Testament chronological data relating 
to the life of Christ has demonstrated that it is possible to place the death 
of Christ as late as 32 A. D. Thus, both the death of Christ and the end of 
the period of 483 years which began in 445 B. C. could have taken place in 
the same year . 

Sir Robert Anderson has demonstrated how, since Artaxerxes 
issued his decree to Nehemiah in the month of Nisan, 445 B. C. (Neh. 2:1), 
483 prophetic years from that time ended in the month of Nisan, 32 A. D. 
It is evident that Christ died in the month of Nisan, for that's when the 
Jewish Passover was observed. Thus, the period of 483 years that began 
in 445 B.C. could have ended in the same month that Christ died. This 
would mean that that period of 483 years not only did not end in a year later 
than Christ's death, but also did not end in a month later than Christ's 

Could the period of 483 years have ended on some day later than 
the day on which Christ died?Perhaps an examination of some chronological 
data in Ezra and Nehemiah will help us answer this question. Ezra 7:9 
indicates that it took Ezra from Nisan 1 to Ab 1, 458 B. C. , to travel from 
Babylon to Jerusalem. Within this period was a three day holdover near 
Ahava (8:15, 31). In other words it took Ezra three days less than four 
full months to travel from Babylon to Jerusalem. 

According to Nehemiah 6:15, the Jews finished rebuilding the wall 
of Jerusalem on Elul 25, 445 B.C., fifty-two days after they had begun. 
This means that they began rebuilding the walls on Ab 3 or 4, the day that 
Nehemiah confronted the Jewish leaders with the task of rebuilding (Neh. 
2:17). According to Nehemiah 2:11, Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem three 
days before Ab 3 or 4, or on Ab 1 or 2 (note: this was almost on the same 
day of the same month that Ezra arrived in Jerusalem thirteen years 
earlier). If Nehemiah's journey to Jerusalem took as long as did Ezra's, 
then Nehemiah started his journey somewhere around Nisan 3or4, 445 B.C. 

Someone might argue that Nehemiah's journey would not have taken 
as long as Ezra's, because Nehemiah didn't have women and children with 
him as did Ezra. However, it is very probable that Nehemiah did have 
women and children with him onhis journey, for several times he mentioned 
his servants who had come with him (Neh. 4:16, 23; 5:10, 16). Surely 
some, if not many, of these men had wives and children. He also mentioned 
his "brethren" in the same passages. This term probably refers to his 
kinsmen and the members of his house who had come with him. 45 Here 
again, women and children must have been involved. 

Even if Nehemiah had not had women and children with him, his 
journey probably would have taken as long as Ezra's, for he had a longer 


distance to travel than did Ezra. Ezra began his journey at Babylon, but 
Nehemiah began his at Shushan (Neh. 1:1), which was approximately 200 
miles further from Jerusalem than was Babylon.^" Thus, we still conclude 
that Nehemiah began his journey around Nisan 3 or 4, 445 B. C. 

It is extremely improbable that Nehemiah left on the same day that 
Artaxerxes gave his approval for him to go. Certainly it would have taken 
several days to make preparations for such a long journey. Because of 
this, it is our conclusion that Artaxerxes issued his decree to Nehemiah 
around Nisan 1. Schultz also concluded that the king took this action on 
Nisan 1, and that the preparation and journey took about four months. 47 

Sir Robert Anderson has shown how that 483 prophetic years which 
began on Nisan 1, 445 B.C. , ended on Nisan 10, 32 A. D.48 Most scholars 
are agreed that Christ was crucified either on Nisan 14 or 15. Therefore, 
the period of 483 years whichbegan with the issuance of Artaxerxes' decree 
to Nehemiah did not end on some day later than the day on which Christ 
died. It ended several days before Christ died- -perhaps on the day of His 
triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 49 

In this study it has been demonstrated that the 483 years that began 
with the issuance of Artaxerxes' decree to Nehemiah in 445 B.C. ended 
during a very significant year in the life of Christ (the year of His death), 
and also ended before His death. It is our conclusion, then, that the New 
Testament does confirm the concept that Artaxerxes' decree to Nehemiah 
was the historic starting point of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9. 


1. Sir Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince (Grand Rapids: Kregel 
Publications, 1954), p. 128. 

2. A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels (New York: Harper & 
Brothers Publishers, 1950), p. 262. 

3. Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (Princeton, N.J. : 
Princeton University Press, 1964), pp. 259, 392. 

4. Ibid. , pp. 262-69. 

5. Ibid. , pp. 262, 269. 

6. Ibid. , p. 259. 

7. Alfred Plummer, Gospel According to St. Luke (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1914), p. 81. 

8. Ibid. , p. 272. 

9. W. M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trust- 
worthiness of the N. T. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 
1953), p. 298. 


G. Ogg, "Chronology of the New Testament," The New Bible 

Dictionary , 1962, p. 223. 

A. R. Burn, "Alexander, Carthage and Rome," The Concise 

Encyclopedia of World History, 1958, p. 119. 

Finegan, Chronology , p. 272. 

Ibid. , pp. 272-73. 


Ogg, "Chronology, " p. 223. 

Will Durant, Caesar and Christ (New York: Simon and Schuster, 

1944), p. 558. 

Finegan, Chronology , p. 273. 

W. M. Ramsay, Luke the Physician (New York: A. C. Armstrong 

and Son, 1908), pp. 227-28. 

Finegan, Chronology , p. 273. 

Ibid. , p. 253. 

"ibid. , pp. 302-03. 

Plummer, Luke , p. 102. 

Henry Alford, The Greek New Testament , Vol. I (London: Rivingtons, 

1874), p. 472~7~ 

A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. II 

(New York: Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1930), p. 45. 

Alford, Greek , p. 472. 

Plummer, Luke , p. 102. 

W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor's Greek Testament, Vol. I 

(Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 

1951), p. 485. 

Robertson, Word Pictures , p. 45. 

Finegan, Chronology , pp. 274-75. 

G. Ogg, "Chronology," p. 224. 

S. A. Cook, F. E. Adcock and M. P. Charlesworth, cd. , The 

Augustan Empire, 44 B.C. -70 A. D. , Vol. X: The Cambridge Ancient 

History (Cambridge: The University Press, 1963), p. 331. 

G. Ogg, "Chronology, " p. 224. 

Durant, Caesar , p. 531. 

Emil Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus 

(New York: Schocken Books, 1961), p. 343. 

W. Shaw Caldecott, Herod's Temple (London: Charles H. Kelly, 

n.d. ), p. 


G. Ogg, 


" p. 224. 



p. 280. 

Ibid. , p. 


Ibid. , p. 


Ibid. , p. 



Ibid. , p. 


Ibid. , p. 



44. Anderson, Prince , p. 128. 

45. C. F. Keil, The Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther (Edinburgh: 
T. & T. Clark, 1873), p. 206. 

46. Herbert G. May, ed. , Oxford Bible Atlas (London: Oxford University 
Press, 1962), p. 75. 

47. Samuel J. Schultz, The Old Testament Speaks (New York: Harper & 
Brothers, Publishers, 1960), pp. 268-69. 

48. Anderson, Prince , p. 128. 

49. Ibid. 


UNDERSTANDING REVELATION. By Gary G. Cohen. Christian Beacon 
Press, Collingswood, N.J., 1968. 186 pp. $1.00, paper. 

This is not a commentary on Revelation but rather a comprehensive 
study of the chronology of its contents. It is the essence of the author's 
Th. D. dissertation at Grace Theological Seminary. Dr. Cohen is profes- 
sor of New Testament at Faith Theological Seminary. 

The author introduces his study with a brief consideration of six 
different approaches to the interpretation of Revelation and accepts the 
futuristic approach, holding that Revelation 4-19 will be fulfilled in the yet 
future seven year period of tribulation. He accepts a pre-tribulational 
rapture. The letters to the seven churches are accepted as historical and 
representative, and then the further tentative conclusion is reached that 
these seven churches are also prophetic of seven periods of church history. 

He holds that chronologically chapters 4-5 stand at the opening of 
the seven year tribulation period. He finds that the seven seals, the seven 
trumpets, and the seven bowls form a chronological framework for the 
book, each series itself as well as the three series in relation to each 
other are chronologically successive. But the insets inserted into this 
chronological framework are not necessarily strictly chronological but 
inserted at the proper time to give a fuller picture of the period. Chapter 
20 covers the millennium and chapters 21-22 relate to the eternal state. 
Several chronological charts help to visualize the author's position. 

The author generally makes a good case for his position. It is 
recommended as a clear, reasoned presentation of the position espoused. 

D. Edmond Hiebert 
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary 

TINDER IN TABASCO. By Charles Bennett. Eerdmans Publishing Co. , 
1968. 213 pp. $2.95, paper. 

Tinder in Tabasco is the most recent addition to the list of books 
on Church growth, but it is much more than a mere study on growth. It is 



a rather complete history of missionary work in that southern part of 
Mexico just next to the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala. 

Out of a desire to avoid superficiality, the author has presented 
details of Tabasco's secular history, during the modern missionary period, 
which have had a direct influence on the ecclesiastical situation. He mentions 
specific political and religious events and personalities. 

The book centers around the activities of the National Presbyterian 
Church in Tabasco, but information is also included about other denomina- 
tions working in that area. 

As to missionary strategy, Mr. Bennett pointed out the relative 
value of different types of methods, but was not as definite as he might 
have been in indicating weaknesses in some procedures used. Not all 
methods used there could be enthusiastically endorsed by evangelicals. 

It is regrettable that the author felt constrained to include the 
Seventh-Day Adventist Church among the evangelicals. 

This well-written and fact-filled book will be of great help to 
evangelical leaders interested in missions. 

P. Fredrick Fogle 

Grace Theological Seminary 


Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1966. 355 pp. $6.95. 

The minister or teacher who is searching for seed thoughts on the 
Gospel of Luke need seek no farther. This book by Herschel H. Hobbs, 
pastor of the First Baptist Church (Southern) in Oklahoma City, abounds in 
suggestions and rich values for many sermons. Nestle is the basic text on 
the Greek references. The authors enlightening and thought-provoking use 
of Greek verb tenses and prepositions is an outstanding feature of this book. 
In a day of denial of the cardinal doctrines, his defense of the Virgin Birth 
is refreshing. His historical references are unburdensome and helpful. 
Some of the most informative facts disclosed by the author are on the 
publicans, sabbath, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and the order of the 
synagogue services. 

This commentary has very few footnotes and a limited number of 
quotes. Only one of the fourteen total footnotes refers to another work other 
than that of Hobbs. His outline is in ten sections and not strictly by the 


chapter divisions of Luke. Dr. Hobbs suggests twelve basic volumes for 
source material and of this number, four are his own works. This book is 
a development of passage ideas rather than averse-by-verse commentary. 
Dr. Hobbs is not one to avoid problematic verses or ideas. He gives 
workable solutions to many problems in Luke. 

Some interesting ideas are expressed by Dr. Hobbs. Herod's brother, 
Philip (Lk. 3:19; cf. 3:1), was a relative in Rome. Those who would not 
see death but remain to see the kingdom (9:27) would actually persist until 
Jerusalem's destruction. The generation seeing the "shooting" fig tree 
would also see this destruction. The author follows postmillennarian Plummer 
concerning the "times of the Gentiles" as Gentile inheritance of Jewish 

Dr. Hobbs cites several authors who are neither included in his 
source material nor given titles to their works (e.g. , Ragg, Godet, Juvenal, 
Field). His book arrangement is attractive, but he could rearrange or 
eliminate at least seventy-five pages to cut the book cost. In the reviewer's 
copy, pages 97-128 are a different shade of white paper than the color of 
the remainder of the book. 

James H. Gabhart 

Community Church 
Tippecanoe, Indiana 

THE BOOK OF MICAE. By T. Miles Bennett. Baker Book House, Grand 
Rapids, 1968. 75 pp. $1.75, paper. 

The outstanding characteristic of this work is the writer's defense 
of the unity of the book of Micah. The disappointing feature lies in the 
author's weak treatment of the future promises to the nation Israel. Part 
of the Shield Bible Study Outlines, this manual would be more interesting 
if a stronger application were made to our current times. 

T. Miles Bennett, Professor of Old Testament at Southwestern 
Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, extracts key phrases 
from some of the verses of Micah (ASV) for expository comments. He 
expresses the overall thoughts of the prophet rather than the details. In 
several places, Dr. Bennett stresses that the mission of the Old Testament 
prophet was more of a "forth-teller" than a foreteller. In general, the 
prophet's message was for his own day or the immediate future. Thus, 
the promised cleansing and glorious future of Israel are primarily fulfilled 


in post-exilic days. Even when the prophet speaks of a future deliverer 
(Mic. 5:2), his words are colored by his knowledge of King David and his 

The introduction of the manual contains some interesting historical 
facts. Except for minor changes, the two outlines of the book (pp. 9, 16) 
are repetitious. The exposition of the text enlightens the readers on some 
customs and actions which were contemporary in the prophet's day. This 
work is almost free of footnotes and the few quotes are from authors other 
than the ten men noted in the bibliography. According to the author, the 
difficult proper names of Micah 1:10-16 show considerable alterations in 
the text by scribes and copyists. The word "peace" is misspelled on page 

James H. Gabhart 
Community Church 
Tippecanoe, Indiana 

WINNING A HEARING. An Introduction to Missionary Anthropology and 
Linguistics. By Howard W. Law. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. , 
Grand Rapids, 1968. 162 pp. $3.95. 

Dr. Howard Law is one of the few evangelicals who has made a 
serious contribution to the field of anthropology. Holding the degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics and having taught courses in linguistics 
and anthropology, he is well qualified to do so. 

It is refreshing to note how carefully he makes his statements on 
subjects which overlap the theological and scientific realms and he has 
shown that there is a healthy balance between scientific research and 
Biblical revelation. 

After dealing with a few basic definitions in his introduction, the 
author divides his work into three main sections: 1) Culture as Nonverbal 
Behavior, 2) Culture as Language and Communication, and 3) Culture as 
Changing Behavior. The first includes some historical background, race 
and cultural development, material and social culture and a consideration 
of ideology and cultural values. The second which concerns linguistics 
discusses phonetics, phonemics, morphemics, tagmemics and lexical 
structure, and provides exercises in the descriptive analysis of languages. 
The third is a discussion of the important matter of the changing aspects 
of culture. Understanding these helps the Christian worker to adapt to an 
alien culture and win a hearing. 


It is the opinion of this reviewer that the author, in writing the book 
primarily for the layman, has fallen short of his goal. The principle of 
introducing the non- missionary to what a missionary does is excellent, but 
with the exception of the well-educated, this book would be too technical 
for a layman, especially the section on linguistics. It would be difficult to 
assimilate without a qualified teacher. On the other hand, Dr. Law claims 
that Winning a Hearing is no more than a n introduction for students 
planning on doing missionary work, and in this he has done an excellent 
piece of work, in spite of the book's brevity. 

It is hoped that this book will be a stepping-stone to more extensive 
works in the field of anthropology, written by Dr. Law or others from an 
evangelical and scholarly vantage point. 

P. Fredrick Fogle 

Grace Theological Seminary 

William E. Nix. Moody Press, Chicago, 1968. 488 pp. $6.95. 

If one desires to investigate the Bible from the external evidences 
for it, and gain an understanding of how, when, and under what conditions 
it was written, here is a most excellent and readable work. There have 
been many books written on this subject, but in this volume the authors have 
updated a vast amount of material on the inspiration, canonicity, trans- 
mission, text, and translation of the whole Bible. There is a wealth of well 
documented background material to the Bible, from a conservative viewpoint. 

This book holds to a high view of inspiration and the conclusion of 
the authors is that "the sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible known today 
are the entire and complete canon of inspired scripture, handed down through 
the centuries without substantial change or any doctrinal variation" (p. 447). 
It is refreshing in this day and age, when the foundation of Christianity, i.e. 
the Bible, is systematically being attacked, to find a current book that is 
predicated upon this thesis. That Geisler and Nix hold to the verbal, plenary 
inspiration of the Bible, would in itself commend the book. 

There are three divisions to the book. Part one handles the problem 
of inspiration. Definitions are stated, claims for inspiration are set forth, 
and supporting evidence for these claims are well outlined. Part two con- 
siders the canonization of the Bible. The criteria by which books were 
admitted into the Bible laid down, the development of the canon in its historical 
approach is stated, and a consideration of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha 


is discussed. Part three tells how we got our Bible and also notes the 
various modern translations with an evaluation of each. 

The book has twenty-seven illustrations which enhance its value. 
There is also a short but adequate glossary of terms used in the book as 
an aid to understanding the semantics of the subject. Included is an up-to- 
date bibliography, an author index, a subject index, and a Scripture index. 

There is no doubt, but that this book will find wide acceptance in 
Christian schools for its academic level, yet it can be easily read by any 
Christian with profit. The reviewer would heartily recommend it to every 
Christian who desires to know more about the Bible. 

John H. Stoll 
Grace College 


IS GOD NECESSARY? By Larry Richards. Moody Press, Chicago, 1969. 

160 pp. $1.95, paper. 
JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. By John F. Walvoord. Moody Press, Chicago, 

1969. 318 pp. $4.95. 
JESUS WHY? By Richard R. Caemmerer. Concordia Publishing House, 

St. Louis, Mo., 1969. 93 pp. $1.95, paper. 
SIMPLE SERMONS ON PRAYER. By W. Herschel Ford. Zondervan Pub- 
lishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 88 pp. $2.95. 
DAY BY DAY WITH ANDREW MURRAY. Compiled by M. J. Shepperson. 

Bethany Fellowship, Inc. , Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1969 (reprint). 

119 pp. $1.25, paper. 

and revised by Irving L. Jensen. Moody Press, Chicago, 1969. 

194 pp. $.95, paper. 
HERE'S YOUR ANSWER. By Robert J. Little. Moody Press, Chicago, 

1969 (5th ed. ). 220 pp. $3.95. 


PLAIN TALK ON JAMES. By Manford George Gutzke. Zondervan Pub- 
lishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 189 pp. $1.95, paper. 
ROZELL'S COMPLETE LESSONS FOR 1970. Brooks Ramsey, editor. 

Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 320 pp. $3.50. 
GROW TOWARD LEADERSHIP. By Melvin L. Hodges. Moody Press, 

Chicago, 1969 (revised ed. ). 63 pp. $.95, paper. 
ZECHARIAH. By G. Coleman Luck. Moody Press, Chicago, 1969 

(revised ed. ). 128 pp. $.95, paper. 
ROMANS. By Geoffrey B. Wilson. The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 

1969. 255 pp. $1.25, paper. 
THE BOOK OF OBADIAH. By Don W. Hillis. Baker Book House, Grand 

Rapids, 1968. 75 pp. $1.95, paper. 
CHATS FROM A MINISTER'S LIBRARY. By Wilbur M. Smith. Baker Book 

House, Grand Rapids, 1951. 283 pp. $2.95. 
BY LIFE OR BY DEATH. By James C. Hefley. Zondervan Publishing 

House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 208 pp. $4. 95. 
THE GOD-PLAYERS. By Earl Jabay. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand 

Rapids, 1969. 151 pp. $3.95. 
DRY BONES CAN LIVE AGAIN. By Robert E. Coleman. Fleming H. Revell 

Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1969. 127 pp. $1.25, paper. 

Craig Press, Nutley, New Jersey, 1969. 201pp. $3.75, paper. 
COMMUNISM VERSUS CREATION. By Francis Nigel Lee. Craig Press, 

Nutley, N.J. , 1969. 252 pp. $3.95, paper. 
THE LOG COLLEGE. By Archibald Alexander. The Banner of Truth 

Trust, London, 1969. 251 pp. $4.00. 
HAPPY MOMENTS WITH GOD. By Margaret Anderson. Bethany Fellowship, 

Inc., Minneapolis, 1969 (reprint). 186 pp. 
THE HIDDEN LIFE OF PRAYER. By D. M. M'Intyre. Bethany Fellowship, 

Inc., Dimension Books, Minneapolis, 1969(reprint). 94 pp. $.75, paper. 
EXPOSITION OF ISAIAH. Volume I. By H. C. Leupold. Baker Book 

House, Grand Rapids, 1968. 598 pp. $7.95. 
EXPERIENCES. By Arnold Toynbee. Oxford University Press, New York, 

1969. 417 pp. $8.75. 

Book House, Grand Rapids, 1968. 207 pp. $6.95. 

Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 160 pp. $1, paper. 
WHERE IS HISTORY GOING? By John Warwick Montgomery. Zondervan 

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 250 pp. $5.95. 
BEYOND THE SHADOWS. By Eileen Mitson. Zondervan Publishing House, 

Grand Rapids, 1968. 128 pp. $1.50, paper. 
THE URBAN CRISIS. Edited by David McKenna. Zondervan Publishing 

House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 146 pp. $3.95. 
THE PROPHECY OF EZEKIEL. By Charles Lee Feinberg. Moody Press, 

Chicago, 1969. 286 pp. $4.95. 


THE CHALLENGE OF THE CHURCH. By S. M. Lockridge. Zondervan 

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 64 pp. 
NEW EVERY MORNING. By Philip E. Howard, Jr. Zondervan Publishing 

House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 187 pp. $3.95. 
LEARNING FOR LOVING. By Robert McFarland and John Burton. Zondervan 

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 158 pp. $3.95. 
LIVING THE CHRIST-FILLED LIFE. By John E. Hunter. Zondervan 

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 130 pp. $2.95. 
THE ESSENCE OF MARRIAGE. By J. A. Fritze. Zondervan Publishing 

House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 124 pp. 
THE VACUUM OF UNBELIEF. By Stuart Barton Babbage. Zondervan 

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 152 pp. $3.95. 
A SCIENTIST AND HIS FAITH. By Gordon L. Glegg. Zondervan Publishing 

House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 59 pp. $1.50, paper. 

Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1968. 122 pp. 
PURPLE-VIOLET SQUISH. By David Wilkerson. Zondervan Publishing 

House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 152 pp. $2.95. 

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 144 pp. $3.50. 
NOT MADE FOR DEFEAT. By Douglas Hall. Zondervan Publishing House, 

Grand Rapids, 1969. 192 pp. $1.95, paper. 
STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST. By Irving L. Jensen. Moody Press, 

Chicago, 1969. 112 pp. $.95, paper. 
EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. By G. Coleman Luck. Moody Press, Chicago, 

1961. 127 pp. $.95, paper. 
ENJOY YOUR BIBLE. By Irving L. Jensen. Moody Press, Chicago, 1969. 

127 pp. $.50, paper. 
THE EXPLORATION OF FAITH. By R. E. O. White. Moody Press, 

Chicago, 1969. 125 pp. $3.50. 
FAITH THAT LIVES. By Frank E. Gaebelein. Moody Press, Chicago, 

1969 (reprint). 127 pp. $.50, paper. 
JOSHUA, REST- LAND WON. By Irving L. Jensen. Moody Press, Chicago, 

1966. 128 pp. $.95, paper. 
BALANCING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. By Charles Caldwell Ryrie. Moody 

Press, Chicago, 1969. 191 pp. $3.95. 

Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1969 (reprint). 145 pp. $3.95. 
THE BUILDING OF THE CHURCH. By C.E. Jefferson, Baker Book House, 

Grand Rapids, 1969. 306 pp. $2.95, paper. 
FACING THE ISSUE. By William J. Rrutza and Phillip Di Cicco. Baker 

Book House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 119 pp. $1.25, paper. 
CONQUEST AND CRISIS. By John J. Davis. Baker Book House, Grand 

Rapids, 1969. 176 pp. $2.95, paper. 

Sears. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 97 pp. $1.95, paper. 



Vinona Lake, Indiana 

SPRING 1970 


No. 2 


A publication of Grace Theological Seminary 





DID SAMUEL SIN? Peter Greenhow 34 



GRACE JOURNAL is published three times each year (Winter, Spring, Fall) by Grace Theological 
Seminary, in cooperation with the Grace Seminary Alumni Association. 

EDITORIAL POLICY: The editors of GRACE JOURNAL hold the historic Christian faith, and 
accept without reservation the inerrancy of Scripture and the premillennial view of eschatology. 
A more complete expression of their theological position may be found in the Statement of 
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opinion that may be expressed by individual writers in the JOURNAL. 

SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $2.00 per calendar year; single copy, 75«f. 

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Copyright, 1970, by Grace Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. 


Published by 








HOMER A. KENT, JR., Editor 
JOHN C. WHITCOMB, JR., Managing Editor 
S. HERBERT BESS, Book Review Editor 

GRACE JOURNAL is indexed by 




FOR MOSHER LIBRARY (Dallas Theological Seminary) 


Assistant Professor of Theology and New Testament 
Arizona Bible College 

The striking importance of the parabolic method of teaching in 
Jewish thinking can be seen from this passage in the Apocrypha: 

But he that giveth his mind to the law of the most 
High, and is occupied in the meditation thereof, will seek 
out the wisdom of all the ancient, and be occupied in 
prophecies. He will keep the sayings of the renowned 
men:andwhere subtil parables are, he will be there also. 
He will seek out the secrets of grave sentences, and be 
conversant in dark parables (Eccles. 39:1-3). 

Our Lord made ready use of the parabolic method of teaching 
to the extent that Mark comments, "But without a parable spake he 
not unto them" (4:34). The parables are not mere human tales; they are 
teachings of the Son of God, the One to whom the crowd listened gladly 
(Mk. 12:37). Of Him it is declared, ". . .the people were astonished at 
his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the 
scribes" (Matt. 7:28, 29). Of the parables, Armstrong writes: 

Indeed, they are sparks from that fire which our 
Lord brought to the earth (Lk. xii. 49)- -the message of 
One who was 'a prophet. . .and more than a prophet' 
(Mt. xi. 9; Lk. vii. 16). l 

Christ's parables are not of mere man. Their higher quality is evidenced 
by deep earnestness and the lack, yea, total absence of jesting or folly. 

By a consideration of the great number of parables, one can note 
the importance of them in Christ's ministry. Ramm has written, "The 
importance of the study of the parables is to be found in their sheer number 
representing a large part of the text of the Gospels. "2 And he further 
makes an important observation, "Any doctrine of the kingdom or escha- 
tology which ignores a careful study of the parables cannot be adequate. "3 


The individual parables have been interpreted in many diverse 
ways, from the extreme allegorical method of Augustine to the topical 
method of Chrysostom. Hubbard vividly states, "They have been made 
the stalking-horse for all kinds of false doctrine and not a little sheer 
nonsense besides. "4 

It is necessary, therefore, to determine hermeneutical principles 
for the uncovering of Biblical truth contained in the parables. 


The definition oftenlearned bySunday Schoolchildren is, "A parable 
is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. " This, though true, needs 
further clarification. 

In the Authorized Version "parable" is a translation used of three 
different terms. The Hebrew word is mashal meaning "a proverbial saying" 
(I Sam. 10:12; 24:14), "a prophetic figurative discourse" (Num. 23:7), "a 
similitude" or "parable" (Ezek. 17:2), "a poem" (Ps. 49:4), or "a riddle" 
(Ezek. 17:2). 5 In the New Testament the word is a translation of two Greek 
terms parabole and paroimia . The former is used in the sense of "symbol" 
or "type" (Heb. 9:9; 11:19), and it is used in the Synoptics to denote "a 
characteristic form of the teaching of Jesus, "6 and the latter word is used 
by John (Jn. 10:6) as "dark saying" or "figure of speech" and by Peter 
(2 Pet. 2:22) as "proverb." 

The importance of a definition, and the confusion at this point, can 
be noted by the varied lists of parables that are assembled. Moulton relates 
that scholars have made lists varying from 33 to 79 parables. 7 He con- 
cludes, "This divergence of opinion makes it evident that it is not easy to 
determine the precise extent of the parabolic material. "8 Standard listings 
contain about thirty. A. B. Bruce lists 33 parables and eight parable - 

In our thinking, the word "parable" generally brings to mind the 
longer stories of Jesus. Therefore it is well, at this point, to distinguish 
between parable, allegory, simile, and metaphor. 

A metaphor equates one object or person with the other. For 
instance, John's Gospel contains no parables, in the usual sense, but it 
gives many metaphors of our Lord, such as, "I am the good shepherd" 
(10:11) and "I am the true vine" (15:1). 

A simile does not equate the two, but it does draw out a comparison. 
Straton writes, "A simile says that one thing is not another but like 


another. "H An example is, "But whereunto shall I liken this generation? 
It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling to their fellows..." 
(Matt. 11 :16ff). The simile and parable are very close together in a par- 
able such as, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman 
took. . . " (Matt. 13:33). This may be called a parabolic similitude, or an 
extended simile, though Smith points up the problem of endeavoring to split 
hairs at this point: 

If the illustration of the Mustard Seed is a similitude 
in Mark, are we to class it as a parable in its Lukan 
form? And if so, where shall we place Matthew's version 
of it, which stands half-way between the two? 12 

One further form is the allegory. An allegory is a story where 
every point is important. The classic illustration is Bunyan's Pilgrim's 
Progress . A Biblical example is allegory in Galatians (4:22-31). This is 
perhaps pressing it too far, but Straton indicates that the Christian soldier 
in Ephesians (6:14 ff) is an allegory. 13 Thus in an allegory every detail of 
the story has its counter -part; whereas, in a parable there is usually but 
one central truth. Terry makes this pertinent observation: 

The parable is essentially a formal comparison, and 
requires its interpreter to go beyond its own narrative to 
bring in its meaning: the allegory is an extended meta- 
phor, and contains its interpretation within itself. 14 

Thus for our purpose, a parable is a similitude or full-length story, 
true to nature and to life, a picture of something which can be observed in 
the world of our experience, which was told by our Lord to illustrate a 
divine truth. 


In order to draw a proper conclusion in the interpretation of the 
parables, it is first necessary to determine the reason for Christ's use of 
the parabolic method. The "Whereunto shall I liken it?" of Christ's teach- 
ing method is not without significance. Two specific reasons can be sug- 
gested; one a pedagogical, the other a historical one. 

The Pedagogical Purpose for Parables 

The value of illustration can scarcely be denied in proper teaching. 
A parable is an illustration. The term itself is from paraballo , "to cast 
along side. " It is a story "cast along side" as an illustration. Several 
characteristics of the parabolic method of teaching can be noted. 


They are Stories . Parables are pictorial, easily grasped, quickly 
remembered, and attention holders. Mark 4:1, 2 demonstrates this fact. 
A great multitude had gathered and He taught them by parables. The group 
stayed all day; finally in the evening they were sent away. It appears that 
the parabolic method was a good way of keeping their attention (cf. vs. 33- 
35). The story-telling method is a powerful means of imparting truth. The 
Lord made effective use of it. 

Truths are Taught . It cannot correctly be said that unbelievers did 
not understandany of the parables. An example is the parable of the Wicked 
Husbandmen (Lk. 20:9-18). The parable was told to the people, in the 
presence of the chief priests, scribes, and elders who had questioned His 
authority to perform His mighty deeds. At the conclusion the chief priests 
and scribes sought to kill him "for they perceived that he had spoken this 
parable against them" (v. 19). Lenski makes an interesting observation at 
this point: "They realized that the parable was directed against them but 
did not realize that by their rage they were justifying that parable in its 
severest part. "15 

No doubt, the full implication of the parable, and certainly the 
prophetic utterance, they did not understand, but it was sufficiently clear 
for them to desire to kill Him. 

Thus it is evident that unbelievers as well as believers were taught 
truths by means of parables. 

They Unfold the Meaning of Scripture. One parable can be men- 
tioned at this point. An inquirer questioned Christ concerning His under- 
standing of "neighbor" as found in Leviticus 19:18. Christ responded by 
telling the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:30-36). The parable 
clearly gives, in illustration form, the meaning of "neighbor. "16 This 
parable was understood by an unbelieving lawyer who had come to challenge 
Christ, and the Lord told him to do even as he had understood the Samar- 
itan to have done (v. 37). Geldenhuys writes, "Jesus' answer was so clear 
and challenging that the lawyer was compelled to acknowledge the deep 
truth conveyed by it. "17 Thus the truth of Leviticus 19:18 is clearly taught 
by our Lord. 

They Force the Hearer to Think . Though Moule misses the point 
of Mark 4:11, 12, his statement concerning those verses is worthy of 

You cannot teach people by spoon-feeding: you must 
set them a puzzle to think out for themselves; those who 
start to crack it are getting somewhere. There is no 
short-cut to understanding. 18 


A liberal writes, "The parable is not so much a crutch for limping 
intellects as a spur to spiritual perception. "19 

An illustration of this purpose may be seen in the parable of the 
Two Debtors (Lk. 7:41, 42). Evidently Simon, to whom Jesus addressed 
this parable, was an unbeliever, but he was able to understand the meaning 
and respond to the question posed by Christ. Christ said, "Thou hast 
rightly judged" (v. 43). And in the words of A. B. Bruce: 

Jesus looks at the woman now for the first time, and 
asks His host to look at her, the despised one, that he 
may learn a lesson from her, by a contrast to be drawn 
between her behavior and his own in application of the 
parable. 20 

One of the most difficult parables of our Lord, the parable of the 
Unjust Steward (Lk. 16:1-9), closes with two searching questions (vss. 11, 
12). It seems obvious that the questions appeal to the hearer to think that 
matter through and come to a conclusion. 

The Historical Purpose for the Parables 

It has been shown that some parables were given to illustrate a 
truth so that the hearers would grasp the meaning more readily. They were 
stories of common settings and close to the experience of the Palestinian 
people. But beyond this, when our Lord was asked why He spoke in para- 
bles He responded, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of 
the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given" (Matt. 13:11; cf. Lk. 
8:10; Mk. 4:11, 12). It would seem that Christ's teaching in parables did 
not come until His rejection by the nation of Israel was becoming clear, 
and He saw the need to speak in a manner understood by His true followers, 
but not understood by the mere curious or those who were hostile to His 
ministry. Bruce shows that there was a progression toward the parabolic 
method from beatitudes to metaphors and similes to parables. 21 Matthew 
12 is a turning point in the ministry of Christ. At this point the work of 
Christ has been attributed to Satan and the leaders of the people have 
turned their backs on Christ. Matthew 13 introduces the reader to the 
parables of the kingdom. 22 The coming Inter-Regnum is being unfolded. 
At the close of the first parable, we are introduced to the purpose of the 
parabolic method. The truth was revealed to the followers of Christ, but 
through this method it was concealed to those who were not true believers. 

The interpretation of Matthew 13:10-17, Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10 
has gone in many directions. The critical view is that it was an addition 
by the primitive church. Torrey writes on Matthew 13:14ff., "The extended 


citation from Is. 6 (LXX) is an early insertion in the Greek Gospel. "23 
Dodd explains that "this explanation of the purpose of the parables is an 
answer to the question which arose after the death of Jesus, and the failure 
of His followers to win the Jewish people. "24 He further states, 

But that He desired not to be understood by the people 
in general, and therefore clothed His teaching in unintel- 
ligible forms, cannot be made credible on any reasonable 
reading of the Gospels. 25 

Dodd clearly misses the idea of judicial blinding upon unbelieving Israel. 
Armstrong seems to take the ability of sound scholarship away from evan- 
gelicals when he writes, "This passage [Mark 4:11, 12]. . .has been inter- 
preted in different ways by commentators, though it would be hard to find 
any authority who regarded it as a verbatim record. "26 

Jeremias holds a view that is unacceptable, when he teaches: 

. . .That v. 11 f. [Mark 4] is a logion belonging to 
wholly independent tradition, which was adapted to the 
word parabola i (v. 10-11), and must therefore be inter- 
preted without reference to its present context. 27 

It was, in his view, a possible saying of Christ, but out of context. 

F. Hauck, in Kittel's Theological Dictionary , holds that these were 
actual words of Christ, but spoken at a later period in His ministry, and 
"obviously a distinction has to be made between the theology of Mk. and the 
original meaning and purpose of the preaching in parables. "28 

Hunter summarizes the critical view well when he writes: 

If the notorious verses in Mark 4:11 f. mean what, 
at first glance, they appear to mean- -then Jesus delib- 
erately used parables to hide God's truth from the masses 
and made them ripe for judgment- -they cannot be words 
of Jesus (My own view is that they are genuine words but 
that they do not belong here). 29 

Hauck expresses this view clearly, "The critical understanding 
sees in it a later construction which echoes the theology of the community 
rather than Jesus Himself. "30 

This unbiblical view must be rejected and the verses accepted as a 
part of the original autographs. The inclusion of Christ's statement con- 
cerning His use of parables in the three Synoptics is significant. 


How are we to understand this seeming judgment of closed ears and 
eyes to understand the parables? As has been noted, some reject it alto- 
gether, or say the writer added it as a true saying of Christ but completely 
out of context. 

One can slide over the judicial pronouncement of Christ as 
Thompson has done: 

These words are a little hard to understand at first, 
but the difficulty disappears when we observe that Jesus 
was quoting a passage from Isaiah, and that Isaiah was 
speaking ironically, putting the result as a purpose, as 
is done so often in Hebrew. Jesus also was speaking 
ironically. 31 

Or as Moule writes, "They will hear without hearing and see with- 
out seeing; otherwise --this is a bit of sarcasm, not meant to be taken in a 
solemnly literal way- -they might actually repent!"32 

Another explanation has been suggested by some, proposing that the 
hina may rather be translated from the Aramaic as a relative pronoun. 33 
As Wright says, it "may here be a mistranslation of the Aramaic particle 
di, which can be used to express purpose, but was here probably used as a 
relative pronoun. "34 

Robertson accepts the words as written and draws this conclusion, 
"What is certain is that the use of parables on this occasion was a penalty 
for judicial blindness on those who will not see. "35 It seems clear that 
this is the only legitimate conclusion that can be drawn. Judicial blindness 
comes uponthose who willfully refuse the gracious invitation for salvation. 
For obscurity and darkness of this kind, no amount of hermeneutical ability 
can bring clarity and light. "The wicked purpose of the obdurate not to 
believe and be saved God is eventually compelled to make also his purpose; 
that they shall not believe and be saved. "36 

At this juncture a point must be made clear. The honest, believing 
inquirer was not shut out from understanding. Kirk makes this pertinent 
statement, "The Saviour explained to those who asked for explanation." 37 
Certainly, the whole purpose of our Lord was to'bring truth to light, to 
seek and to save that which was lost, to illumine and enlighten. 

. . . The unreceptive and unworthy multitude stood 
self-condemned because of their rejection of the message 
of salvation. Teaching in parables is part of their just 
punishment, and serves also to keep the door open for 
those who may become receptive. 38 


The hina clause of Mark and Luke and the hotl clause of Matthew 
point to judicial blinding. Mark and Luke view purpose and Matthew result. 
Haas writes, "Mark sees in actual occurrence what Matthew portrays as 
a result. "39 Jeremias quotes Bower, "In the case of divine decisions 
purpose and fulfillment are identical. "40 Notwithstanding differences in 
statement, the three accounts are in substantial agreement as to the purpose 
of the parabolic method at that time. Judicial blindness may seem harsh, 

If we shrink sensitively from the idea that the 'Lord 
of heaven and earth' reveals to some and hides from 
others, we are strangely out of sympathy with the feel- 
ings of Jesus and of Paul, who found in this idea not only 
occasion of resignation, but of adoration and joy. ([Matt. ] 
11:25 f. ; Rom. 9:18 ff; 11:30-36. )4l 

It is concluded that often the parables were meant to be examples 
and illustrations, demonstrating a truth which our Lord was emphasizing 
to believer or unbeliever. At other times (such as Matthew 13), the para- 
bles were a method of veiling the truth from those who would not believe. 
This was a judicial blinding upon the unbelieving. To those who asked, 
Christ gave the meaning of the veiled truths. 


The interpretation of parables is not an easy task. The multiplicity 
of interpretations testifies to this. Even those who walked daily with Christ 
had need of asking of Him the interpretation (Matt. 13:26). The interpre- 
tation Christ gave of several will help in understanding others. 

It is self-evident that one's theological persuasion will also bear 
on his understanding of the meaning. Ramm makes this worthwhile 

In general, the amillennialists and postmillennialists 
have interpreted certain parables optimistically whereas 
premillenarians and dispensationalists have interpreted 
the same parables pessimistically. 42 

He illustrates this by the two basic interpretations of the parables 
of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven (Matt. 13:31-33). 

The growth of the mustard seed to a tree, and the 
permeation of the meal by the leaven is taken by the 
former to be a teaching of the powerful growth and spread 


of Christianity, and by the latter of the corruption of the 
professing Church. 43 

This points out the need to keep ourselves open to the ministry of 
the Spirit and compare our findings with the clear teachings of the rest of 
the Word. Certain principles must be observed. 

Study the Context 

This point cannot be stressed too forcefully. The modern critical 
method is to remove the parable from the setting. The liberals generally 
agree that the parables are original stories of Christ, re-audienced, re- 
applied, and generalized by later editors. Jeremias' first two sentences 

The student of the parables of Jesus, as they have 
been transmitted to us in the first three Gospels, may 
be confident that he stands upon a particularly firm his- 
torical foundation. The parables are a fragment of the 
original rock of tradition. 44 

Jesus and His Parables by Murray is quoted by Buttrick: 

A recent commentator maintains (and there is sound 
and reverent scholarship to support the plea) that the 
parables themselves are more trustworthy guides than 
their scriptural settings. He quotes Wernle with approval: 
'Our delight in the parables rises regularly in the exact 
degree in which we succeed in liberating ourselves from 
the interpretations of the Evangelists, and yielding our- 
selves up to the original force of the parables them- 
selves. '45 

So, in their view, the parable is an actual logion of Jesus, but they 
are quick to say that the setting into which the writer places it was an 
addition of the primitive church, "Thus the parables, in the earliest days, 
had two settings- -their original setting in the life of Jesus, and their later 
one in the life of the early church. "46 Therefore', it is clear, the liberal 
has no room for the setting as contained in the Gospels. Bishop Kennedy 
in his work on the parables virtually ignores the setting. 47 

The setting is needful, though, if the proper interpretation is to be 
derived, even as Hope quotes James Denney, "A text without its context is 
nothing but a pretext. "48 The evangelical scholar will recognize this. 
Lightfoot is correct in stating, "The backgroundof the parableandthe con- 


text of the passage in which it appears will help immeasurably in under- 
standing it. "49 Another scholar has written: 

. . . Perhaps the best way of studying them is not to 
isolate them from the general history of His ministry for 
separate consideration, but rather to look at them as 
parts of a larger whole in connection with the particular 
occasions which called them forth. 50 

Keys to the interpretation can be found in the context. Often our 
Lord supplied the interpretation (Matt. 22:14; 25:13). Sometimes it is 
supplied by the Gospel writer such as the parable of the Unjust Judge (Lk. 
18:1). Luke introduces it thus, 'And he spake a parable unto them to this 
end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (v. 1), The Pharisees' 
murmuring that Jesus ate with sinners brought forth the three parables of 
Luke 15. 

Often the key to the interpretation can be found in the prologue to 
the parable. The parable of the Pharisee and Publican (Lk. 18:9-14) is 
introduced by, "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in 
themselves that they were righteous, and despised others" (v. 9). The 
parable of the Pounds is introduced by Luke in this fashion: 

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that 
which was lost. And as they heard these things, he added 
and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, 
and because they thought that the kingdom of God should 
immediately appear (Lk. 19:10, 11). 

At other times the epilogue of the parable gives a key to the proper 
interpretation. After the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-12), our 
Lord said, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour 
wherein the Son of man cometh" (v. 13). "Make to yourselves friends out 
of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it fails, they may receive 
you into everlasting habitations" is the conclusion to the parable of the 
Unjust Steward (Lk. 16:9, Greek). 

In some parables, information for interpretation is given in both 
the epilogue as well as the prologue. The parable of the Unmerciful Ser- 
vant (Matt. 18:23-34) is introduced by the question of Peter, "Lord, how 
oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?" (v. 21). Christ 
told him, "Until seventy times seven" (v. 22). This was followed by the 
parable. The conclusion to the parable is, "So likewise shall my heavenly 
Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his 
brother their trespasses" (v. 35). 


The context of the parable of the Rich Fool (Lk. 12:16-20) is a 
further illustration. It was given in response to a man asking Christ to 
arbitrate the dividing of an inheritance between two feuding brothers (v. 14). 
Christ asked the man, "Who made me a judge or a divider over you?" (v. 
14); then he said to those around, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: 
for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he pos- 
sesseth" (v. 15). This was followed by the parable to illustrate this truth. 
Our Lord's conclusion was, "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, 
and is not rich toward God" (v. 21). 

Dodd has well written: 

The task of the interpreter of the parables is to find 
out, if he can, the setting of the parable in the situation 
contemplated by the Gospels, and hence the application 
which would suggest itself to one who stood in that 
situation. 51 

Learn and Understand the Story 

An understanding of life in Palestine is essential to an understanding 
of many of the parables. Christ told stories which were common to the 
people of the day. "Most of the stories involve customs, conditions, and 
ideas peculiar to the Jews of Palestine in Jesus' time and therefore require 
explanation before an American reader fully understands them. "52 Jesus 
lived among the Jewish people and most of the parables were drawn from 
the natural setting of the poor Jewish peasant. Customs of possession and 
transference of property are involved in the story of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 
15:11-32). The size of the mustard herb (Matt. 13:31,32) must be learned, 
not from the mustard plant of the California and Arizona hillsides, but 
from the mustard plant growing in Palestine. The relative value of talents 
and pence must be known to appreciate the lesson of forgiveness taught by 
the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt. 18:23-34). The common 
practice of broadcasting grain should be familiar to understand the parable 
of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-8). The parable of the Tares is incomprehensible 
without an acquaintance with darnel (Matt. 13:24-30). 

Ramm has written: 

Studies in the local color of the parables have turned 
up a rich store of information and one is tempted to say 
that one should never preach again on any parable until 
he has made himself familiar with this material. 53 


Recognize the Christological Nature of the Parables 

The central theme of the teaching of Christ was the Kingdom of God. 
The parables were used to illustrate some of the great truths concerning 
the kingdom. Hope writes: 

For a proper understanding of the parables of Jesus 
it must always be borne in mind that all of them deal with 
one great subject, and one great subject only, namely, 
the Kingdom of God. 54 

It is commonly agreed that they are all illustrations of Christ and 
His mission. Without an understanding of Christ and His mission, the 
interpretation of the parables is impossible. Bruce divides the parables 
into three groups: 1) the didactic parables (e.g. parables of the Sower, the 
Tares, the Mustard Seed) which relate in a general way to teachings con- 
cerning the Kingdom of God; 2) the evangelic parables (e.g. parables of 
the Lost Sheep, the Lost Son, the Great Supper) which deal with Christ's 
love for the sinful; and 3) the prophetic or judicial parables (e.g. parables 
such as the Ten Virgins and the Wicked Husbandman). 55 

Even the critic recognizes the kingdom nature of the parables though 
he interprets them as realized eschatology . The evangelical realizes the 
two-fold nature of the kingdom. In one sense it is present (cf. Matt. 13), 
and in another sense it is yet future in fulfillment (the Ten Virgins, the 
Talents). Proper interpretation demands that we "keep in mind the cen- 
trality of the reign of God in all that Jesus said and did. "56 

Determine the Central Point of the Parable 

With but few exceptions the stories of Christ were parables, not 
allegories. 57 a true parable has but one main point. Christ spoke a par- 
able to drive home the truth He was endeavoring to teach. Dodd calls this 
"the most important principle of interpretation. "58 He continues, "The 
typical parable, whether it be a simple metaphor, or a more elaborate 
similitude, or a full length story, presents one single point of compar- 
ison." 59 A parable might be likened to a wheel, the central point is the 
hub, and all the spokes point to the hub. If the hub is off center, the wheel 
will not perform and function properly. 

Some have seen in the parable of the Prodigal Son two main points; 
the joy of the Father over the return of a penitent, and a rebuke to those 
not accepting a sinner returning from the error of his way. These two 
ideas can be brought together when it is recognized that the thrust of the 
parable is the joy which should be expressed when a wayward one returns 
to God. 


Even in the Parable of the Sower, the emphasis is on the soil, not 
the sower. 

The four-fold division represents but one truth, viz., 
Other th ings being equal , the growth and fruitfulness of 
seeds will be determined by the nature of the soil upon 
which thev are cast. 60 

Understand the Details 

Recognizing the importance of the one central point, the next thing 
is to understand the various details of the parable. The parabolic method 
is not expository but topical and parables must be treated in that fashion. 
The topical method "looks first of all to find the central thought which the 
parable was designed to embody, and it treats every detail with reference 
to its bearing upon this thought. " 61 Trench gives this advice: 

The expositor must proceed on the presumption that 
there is import in every single point, and only desist 
from seeking it when either it does not result without 
forcing, or when we can clearly show that this or that 
circumstance was merely added for the sake of giving 
intuitiveness to the narrative. 62 

He also writes: 

It will much help us in the matter of determining 
what is essential and what is not, if, before we attempt 
to explain the parts we obtain a firm grasp of the central 
truth which the parable would set forth, and distinguish 
it in the mind as sharply and accurately as we can from 
all cognate truths which border upon it; for only seen 
from that middle point will the different parts appear in 
their true light. 63 

The details are included for a purpose, either they have a definite 
role in the interpretation or ". . .they simply belong to the story as a true 
transcript of life. "64 Plummer makes this observation concerning the 
parable of the Unjust Steward (Lk. 16:1-9), "The difficulty and consequent 
diversity of interpretation are for the most part the result of mistaken 
attempts to make the details of the parables mean something definite. "65 

Augustine is a notable example of one who endeavored to make the 
parables "walk on all four." One illustration is sufficient to see his method. 
In the parable of the Great Supper (Lk. 14:16-24), he interprets the five 


yoke of oxen (v. 19) to be the five senses; seeing, hearing, smelling, 
tasting, and touching. They are in pairs; two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, 
the tongue and the palate, and the inner and outer touch. These senses 
are double; the eyes see light and darkness, the ears hear harsh and 
musical sounds, the nose smells sweet and offensive odors, the mouth 
tastes bitter and sweet, and the touch feels smooth and rough. 66 

Against this extreme view is Chrysostom. He taught that the par- 
able had only one central meaning and they were not to be allegorized. In 
dealing with Matthew 13:34, 35, he writes, 'And, as lam always saying, 
the parables must not be explained throughout word for word, since many 
absurdities will follow. "67 

Thus, in the history of interpretations there have been these two 
extremes. It caused Trench to write: 

There are those who expect to trace only the most 
general correspondence between the sign and the thing 
signified; while others aim at running out the interpre- 
tation into the minutest detail; with those who occupy 
every intermediate stage between the two extremes. 68 

Often it is difficult to determine which is to be interpreted and 
which is not. Christ gave the interpretation of the parable of the Tares 
(Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43) and this may be of help at this point. Note that 
Christ interpreted for the disciples the meaning of the tares, the sower, 
the field, the good seed, the enemy, the harvest, the reapers; but, at the 
same time He does not interpret the meaning of the men who slept, the 
meaning of sleep, the springing up of the wheat, the yielding of fruit, or 
the servants. 

After dealing with the parables of the Sower and the Tares, Terry 

From the above examples we may derive the general 
principles which are to be observed in the interpretation 
of parables. No specific rules can be formed that will 
apply to every case, and show what parts of a parable 
are designed to be significant, and what parts are mere 
drapery and form. Sound sense and delicate discrim- 
ination are to be cultivated and matured by a protracted 
study of all the parables, and by careful collation and 
comparison. 69 

Thus it is observed that the parts of the parable often play an impor- 
tant role in interpretation, on the other hand they may be given just to 


streamline the story. The interpreter must determine the importance of 
every part. 

Certain Warnings 

In brief, a few dangers in interpretation should be mentioned. The 
parables contain much which is doctrinal, and these doctrinal teachings are 
not to be taken lightly. Ramm has written: 

Parables do teach doctrine, and the claim that they 
may not be used at all in doctrinal writing is improper. 
But in gleaning our doctrine from the parables we must 
be strict in our interpretation; we must check our results 
with the plain, evident teaching of our Lord, and with 
the rest of the New Testament. 70 

Parables shouldnotbe considered primary sources of doctrine. Doc- 
trine may be illustrated and confirmed by parables, but one must be careful 
to check the interpretation with the whole body of inspired Scripture. 

As a further warning, it is needful to be aware that parables are 
comparisons and illustrations. Every comparison must halt somewhere. 
The interpreter is to u s e the parable as an illustration and he must be 
careful not to interpret it further than the intent of the Lord. 

Finally, Christ made it quite clear, many parables cannot be under- 
stood by the natural man. These can only be understood by the one who is 
led by the Spirit (I Cor. 2:9-16). There is a blinding over the hearts of 
those who willfully refuse the message of our Lord. 


1. Edward A. Armstrong, The Gospel Parables (London: Hodder and 
Stoughton, 1967), p. 11. 

2. Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation (Boston: W. A. 
Wilde, 1956), p. 255. 

3. Ibid . 

4. George H. Hubbard, The Teachings of Jesus in Parables (Boston: 
The Pilgrim Press, 1907), p. xv. 

5. This listing is given by Howard Cleveland, "Parable, " The Zon- 
dervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub- 
lishing House, 1963), p. 621. 

6. William F. Arndt and F.Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek- English Lexicon 
of the New Testament (Chicago: The University Press, 1957), p. 617. 


7. W. J. Moulton, "Parable, " Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels 
(N. Y. : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912), II, 313. 

8. Ibid . 

9. A. B. Bruce, Parabolic Teaching of Christ (London: Hodder, n. d. ), 
pp. xi, xii. 

10. R. C. Trench, Notes on the Parables of our Lord (N. Y. : Fleming 
H. Revell Company, n. d. ), pp. v, vi. 

11. Hillyer H. Straton, A Guide to the Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: 
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1960), p. 14. 

12. B. T. D. Smith, The Parables of the Synoptic Gospels (Cambridge: 
University Press, 1937), pp. 17, 18. 

13. Straton, p. 15. 

14. Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics (N. Y. : Eaton and Mains, 
1890), p. 189. 

15. R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel (Colum- 
bus: The Wartburg Press, 1946), pp. 984, 5. 

16. An interesting change takes place in this parable. From the question 
"Who is my neighbor?" Christ turns it about to "Who acted as a 
neighbor?" This is a most interesting switch. 

17. Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (Grand 
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1954), p. 312. 

18. C. F. D. Moule, The Gospel According to Mark (Cambridge: The 
University Press, 1965), p. 36. 

19. A. M. Hunter, "Interpreting Parables," Interpretation , 14:1 
(January, 1960), p. 74. 

20. A. B. Bruce, The Synoptic Gospels , in The Expositor's Greek 
Testament , vol. I (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing 
Company, n.d.), p. 517. 

21. A. B. Bruce, The Parabolic Teaching of Christ, pp. 20, 21. 

22. Some have suggested that the parable of the Sower was the first 
parable of Christ. However, A. T. Robertson, Wm. Stevens and 
Burton, and C. Roney, in their harmonies, give it as the second 
parable, with the parable of the Two Debtors (Lk. 7:41-43)as the 
first one. 

23. Charles C. Torrey, Documents of the Primitive Church (N. Y. : 
Harper and Brothers, 1941), p. 67. 

24. C.H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom (N.Y. : Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1961), p. 4. 

25. Ibid . 

26. Edward Armstrong, The Gospel Parables (London: Hodder and 
Stoughton, 1967), p. 22. 

27. Jqachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus (London: SCM Press, 
1955), p. 12. 

28. Friedrich Hauck, "Parabole, " Theological Dictionary of the New 
Testament , vol. V (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing 
Company, 1967), p. 758. 


Hunter, pp. 73, 4. 
Hauck, p. 757. 

Ernest Thompson, The Gospel According to Mark and Its Meaning 
for Today (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1962), p. 86. 
C. F. D. Moule, The Gospel According to Mark (Cambridge: 
University Press, 1965), p. 35. 

Sherman Johnson, The Gospel According to St. Mark (N.Y. : Harper 
and Brothers, 1960), p. 90. 

Francis Beare, The Earliest Records of Jesus (N. Y. : Abingdon 
Press, 1962), p. 111. 

A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (N. Y. : 
Richard R. Smith, 1930), I, p. 286. 

R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel (Colum- 
bus: The Wartburg Press, 1946), p. 169. 

Edward Kirk, Lectures on the Parables of Our Savior (N. Y. : R. 
Craighead, 1857), p. 14. 
W. J. Moulton, p. 315. 

John Haas, Gospel According to Mark , in The Lutheran Commentary 
(N.Y. : The Christian Literature Co., 1895), pp. 72, 3. 
Jeremias, p. 14. 

John A. Broadus, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Valley 
Forge: The American Baptist Publication Society, 1886), p. 288. 
Ramm, p. 263. 
Ibid., pp. 263, 4. 
Jeremias, p. 9. 

George A. Buttrick, The Parables of Jesus (Garden City, N. Y. : 
Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1928), p. xxiv. 
Hunter, p. 76. 

Gerald Kennedy, The Parables (N. Y. : Harper and Brothers, 1960). 
Norman Hope, "Bases for Understanding," Interpretation , 6:3 
(July, 1952), p. 306. 

Neil Lightfoot, Lessons from the Parables (Grand Rapids: Baker 
Book House, 1965), p. 16. 

Bruce, The Parabolic Teaching of Christ , p. 1. 
Dodd, p. 14. 

Elbert Russell, The Parables of Jesus (N. Y. : Young Women's 
Christian Associations, 1912), p. 10. 
Ramm, p. 260. 
Hope, p. 303. 
Bruce, The Parabolic Teaching of Christ , pp. 8, 9. 

A. Berkeley Mickelsen, Interpreting the Bible (Grand Rapids: Wm. 

B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966), p. 229. 

It has been argued that the story of the Wicked Husbandmen (Matt. 
21:33-45) is an allegory. 
Dodd, p. 7. 



Hubbard, p. 4. 




Trench, p. 35. 



Russell, p. 15. 


Alfred Plummer, 

Scribner's Sons, 

The Gospel According to St. Luke (N.Y. : Charles 
1914), p. 380. 

66. St. Augustine, "Sermons on New Testament Lessons, " The Nicene 
and Post-Nicene Fathers , vol. VI (N.Y. : The Christian Literature 
Company, 1888), p. 477. 

67. Chrysostom, "Gospel of Matthew, " The Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers , vol. X (N. Y. : The Christian Literature Co., 1888), p. 292. 

68. Trench, p. 30. 

69. Terry, p. 198. 

70. Ramm, p. 263. 



Executive Director 

American Association for Jewish Evangelism 

My text is taken from Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 9, verses 
1-5. Bible scholars are agreed that the Roman epistle is probably the 
greatest treatise ever to come from the pen of man. We bear in mind of 
course that the apostle was inspired by the Spirit of God. The Roman 
epistle divides itself into three major divisions. Chapters 1-8 are the 
doctrinal portion of the epistle setting forth the basic doctrines of the 
Christian faith. Chapters 9-11 have been referred to as the parenthetical 
portion of the epistle. In these three chapters Paul deals with Israel. He 
sets forth her past, present, and future. The last five chapters, 12-16, 
are the practical portion of the epistle. In these chapters Paul applies the 
basic Christian doctrines to our everyday Christian living. He insists 
that, if we have accepted these great truths into our hearts, they should 
be manifest in our lives. Our lives should be so changed that we would 
willingly present ourselves as "living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto 
God" (Rom. 12:1). 

We are concerned primarily with the first five verses that intro- 
duce the parenthetical portion of this epistle. In verses 1-3 we have Paul's 
Prayer for Israel. In verses 4-5 we have God's Promises Concerning 
Israel. The late Dr. Alva J. McClain refers to these verses as "The 
Jewish Problem. " The problem was not with the Word of God, nor the 
apostle Paul, but in the minds of Christian men and women. These Chris- 
tians had listened to the apostle set forth the great doctrines of the 
Christian faith. These doctrines were Church doctrines and do not refer 
to God's dealings with His people Israel. Israel was an earthly people -- 
the Church is a heavenly people. The apostle makes it plain that our 
"citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20). The teachings of Paul presented a 
problem to the early Christians. Many of them were well acquainted with 
the O. T. teachings concerning Israel. They had looked forward to the 

This study was presented as part of the Louis S. Bauman Lectureship at 
Grace Theological Seminary on January 29, 1970. 



coming of the Messiah. The prophets spoke of a day when David's greater 
Son would sit upon the throne in Israel and reign as King. Messiah has 
come but the people did not accept Him. They cried out, 'Away with him, 
crucify him! We will not have this man to reign over us. " He was cruci- 
fied, buried, and rose again the third day. He ascended on high. The 
problem that the Jewish Christians are now faced with concerned the covenants 
and promises that God made with Israel. Promises that have to do with an 
earthly kingdom and king. Are these promises set aside? Has Israel been 
cast off? Will God ever deal with Israel again? Are we to spiritualize the 
O.T. promises and apply these promises to the Church because the Church 
has become spiritual Israel? 

History has a strange way of repeating itself. The problems that 
these early Christians were facing are the same problems that many Chris- 
tians are facing today. They are asking the same questions. They are 
applying the O.T. Scriptures to the Church, spiritualizing that which God 
has not spiritualized. Someone has said, "Whenever you spiritualize that 
which God has not spiritualized, you become guilty of telling spiritual lies." 
In Romans 9, 10, 11 the apostle Paul is dealing with this Jewish problem 
and he solves the problem on the basis of God's Word. We would do well 
if we followed the example of the great apostle. These so-called "problems" 
would no longer be problems if we would deal with them according to the 
teaching of God's Word. Consider with me then the manner in which Paul 
deals with the Jewish problem. In verses 1-3 we have 


I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also 
bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great 
heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could 
wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my 
brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 

These verses are often used as a text for a missionary message to challenge 
God's people for world missions. Usually they are taken out of context and 
the real meaning is lost. These verses give us a little insight into the 
heart and soul of the apostle Paul. He shares with us the deep-rooted 
feelings towards his "brethren. . .according to the flesh. " These feelings 
are based upon his understanding of the teaching of God's Word concerning 
the holiness, justice and wrath of God. 

Paul's concern for Israel, and his desire to see them saved, reminds 
us of Moses and his intercession on behalf of his people. You will recall 
that at the time God gave Moses the commandments the people complained 
that "he delayed to come down out of the mount. " They went to Aaron and 
asked that he make a calf of gold which was to be worshipped as God. In 


Egypt they had been exposed to the Apis bull. They saw the Egyptians 
worship the Apis bull as the god of creation. Apparently they were not 
cured of idolatry and so they command Aaron to "make a molten calf" in 
order that they may worship it and say, "These be thy gods, Oh Israel, 
which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." God's wrath was kindled 
by this ungodly deed so that He pronounced judgment upon the people. In 
Exodus 32:9-10 we read, 

And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, 
and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let 
me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and 
that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great 

A lesser man may have been intrigued by the promise that God gave to 
Moses. He promises to destroy Israel but, from out of the loins of Moses 
a great nation will come forth. Moses wasn't intrigued by what God said, 
however, but rather pours his heart out to God on behalf of his people. In 
Exodus 32:31-32 we have the prayer of Moses: 

And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this 
people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods 
of gold. Yet now* if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if 
not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast 

Notice verse 32 very carefully. Moses prays, "Yet now, if thou wilt for- 
give their sin--." The translator places a dash after the word "sin" 
because Moses had not finished his prayer. In other words he pauses in 
the middle of his prayer. He knows what it is going to mean to his people 
if God does not forgive their sin. Realizing the awful wrath of God that is 
pending he continues by saying, "and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of 
thy book which thou hast written. " 

Historically Israel had been a "stiffnecked and rebellious people. 
At the time of our Lord they took great pride in being the covenant people 
through whom God gave the world the prophets. They failed to remember 
that their fathers rebelled against the prophets' message and took action 
to silence their lips. Jesus said, 

Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, 
and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often 
would I have gathered thy children together, even as a 
hen gatherethher chickens under her wings, and ye would 
not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 


In Luke 19:43, Jesus said, 

For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies 
shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, 
and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even 
with the ground, and thy children with thee; and they 
shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because 
thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. 

The apostle Paul was well acquainted with these promises. Twenty 
years have passed since the Lord went home to glory and Paul knew that 
time was running out for Israel. Within ten years after the writing of this 
epistle Titus came down and laid Jerusalem waste. Historians tell us that 
over one million Jews were in Jerusalem at that time. Those that were 
outside the wall were captured. Many were crucified; others were sold 
into slavery. Those that lived inside the wall were courageous and held 
the Romans off for some time. As time went on food became scarce. The 
people resorted to eating rats and mice and whatever else would keep them 
alive. When all their food was gone they became cannibals and ate their 
own children. This also was according to the prophecy set forth by Moses 
in Deuteronomy 28:49-53, 

The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from afar, 
from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a 
nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation 
of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person 
of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat 
the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until 
thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either 
corn, wine, or oil, or increase of thy kine, or flocks of 
thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall 
besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced 
walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all 
thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates 
throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath 
given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, 
the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord 
thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straight - 
ness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee. 

These were not idle words to the apostle Paul. He knew that judgment had 
been pronounced and was soon to be executed. Not only would Israel 
experience God's wrath in time but also throughout eternity. Realizing the 
awfulness of this judgment Paul cries out, "For I could wish that myself 
were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the 
flesh. " 


God's judgment of Israel presents a great problem. The problem 
centers around the covenants that God made to this people many years ago. 
What about these promises? What about these covenants? Are they null 
and void? Are they to be put aside forever? Is God actually through with 
the Jew? and will have no further dealings with them as a nation? This is 
the problem that the apostle Paul seeks to solve. He begins by setting 
before us 


This eight-fold promise to Israel is set forth in verses 4-5. Notice 
carefully the way the apostle begins. In referring to his kinsmen according 
to the flesh he says, "Who are Israelites. " Israel means "a prince with 
God. " In the 32nd chapter of Genesis, Jacob wrestles all night with the 
angel of the Lord at Penial. As the dawn of a new day was breaking the 
angel said to Jacob, "Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will 
not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, what is thy 
name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no 
more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou powers with God and with 
men, and hast prevailed" (Gen. 32:26-28). 

In Genesis 35:22-26 we are given the names of Jacobs twelve sons. 
These twelve sons became the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel and 
these twelve tribes are referred to throughout Scripture as "the whole 
house of Israel. " 

In verses 4 and 5 of our text the apostle Paul makes it clear that the 
eight-fold blessing of God is upon Israel. The first blessing referred to is 
that of 


The word "adoption" is a New Testament word. The apostle Paul uses it 
in Romans 8:15 where he says, "But ye have received the spirit of 
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. " 

In Romans 8:23 we read, "And not only they, but ourselves also, 
which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within 
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. " 

InEphesians 1:5 Paul says, "Having predestinated us unto the adop- 
tion of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure 
of his will. " 

It is quite obvious from these verses that the word "adoption," as 
used in the New Testament, speaks of a unique relationship between the 


individual believer and God. In Romans 9:4, however, the word is used in 
a different way. Whereas it speaks of a unique relationship, it refers 
here, not to a relationship between the individual and God but the relation- 
ship of the nation Israel to God. In other words Israel has a unique rela- 
tionship to her God, a relationship that no other nation can claim. 

This relationship is clearly indicated in the message that God gave 
to Moses to give to Pharaoh. When God sent Moses down into the land of 
Egypt to tell Pharaoh to let His people go He said, "And thou shalt say 
unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn" 
(Ex. 4:22). 

The word "firstborn" does not actually mean that Israel was born 
first, but rather it speaks of a place of preeminence that Israel shall have 
among the nations. In Colossians 1:15 we read that Jesus is "the firstborn 
of every creature." In verse 18 we read, "Who is the beginning, the first- 
born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. " 
Paul does not teach that Jesus Christ was the "firstborn" in the sense that 
He was born first. But he does teach that Jesus Christ is the preeminent 
One. He is the Head over all things. The word "firstborn," as it relates 
to Israel, speaks of the place of preeminence that she has, and will have, 
among the nations. It is good for us to remember that Israel is a nation, 
chosen of God, for a special purpose. 

This is clearly set forth in Deuteronomy 7:6-8. 

For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the 
Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto 
himself, above all people that are upon the face of the 
earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose 
you, because ye were more in number than any people; 
for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord 
loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he 
had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you 
out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house 
of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 

The question may be asked, "If Israel is God's chosen people why have 
they suffered the way they have down through the years?" The answer is 
found, I believe, in Amos 3:2, "You only have I known of all the families 
of the earth; therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities." In other 
words there is a family relationship here and God is punishing His children 
because of their waywardness. God is not seeking revenge by punishing 
His people but He is preparing them for the task whereunto He has called 
them. This task has not as yet been completed. 


The second blessing referred to in our text is 

The Glory 

"To Israel pertaineth. . . the glory. " The "glory" speaks of the 
symbolic, visible presence of God. The first mention of this "glory" is in 
Exodus 13:21 where we read, "And the Lord went before them by day in a 
pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to 
give them light; to go by day and night. " The psalmist said, "He spread a 
cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night" (Ps. 105:39). This 
cloud, which spoke of the presence of God, was for Israel's protection. 
The people would have been scorched by the hot sun as they travelled 
through the desert if God had not provided a covering for them. At night 
the temperature drops so that the children would be in great danger if 
there was no heat. The Lord took care of this, however, by providing a 
covering for the day and a fire for the night. 

The second mention of the glory is in Exodus 14. The children of 
Israel have reached the Red Sea but, much to their dismay, the armies of 
Pharaoh are coming up behind them to take them back into bondage. The 
people cry out to Moses saying, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, 
hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt 
thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?" (verse 11). Moses' answer 
to them was, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, 
which he will shew you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, 
ye shall see them again no more forever" (verse 13). 

Do you remember what the Lord did? Notice verse 19, "And the 
angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went 
behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and 
stood behind them." The cloud, the symbolic presence of God, stood 
between Israel and the Egyptians. God commanded Moses to stretch forth 
his hand over the sea. As he did so "the waters were divided. And the 
children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry ground: and the 
waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And 
the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even 
all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 

The next mention of the cloud is in connection with the building of 
the tabernacle. You will recall that when God called Moses into the moun- 
tain, to give him the law, He also shewed him the pattern after which he 
was to build the tabernacle. The tabernacle was to be the dwelling place 
of God. In Leviticus 16:2 we read, "And the Lord said unto Moses, speak 
unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place 
within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die 
not; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. " God wanted to 


dwell in the midst of His people in order that He might reveal Himself to 
them in a very special way. Later when they came into the land of Canaan 
you will recall that Solomon built a temple. The purpose of the temple was 
the same as the tabernacle. God would dwell in the midst of His people. 
He would dwell upon the mercy seat in the form of the shekinah glory. 

In Ezekiel 10 and lithe Lord speaks to Ezekiel in a vision. Ezekiel 
saw the glory rise from the mercy seat; it passed through the veil into the 
holy place; out the holy place; down the valley of Kidron; up the Mount of 
Olives where it ascends up into heaven. The glory of the Lord departed 
from Israel. Israel had sinned and so God withdrew HimseH from their 
presence. For many years there was no glory in Israel, then something 
tremendous happens. Luke tells us that out in the field of Bethlehem there 
were "shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by 
night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of 
the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the 
angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of 
great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in 
the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. " The glory returns 
to Israel in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:14 says, "And the 
Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the 
glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. " 

What did John mean when he said, "We beheld His glory"? If you 
had lived in John's day, and had the opportunity to gaze into the lovely face 
of the Lord Jesus you would not have seen anything that would have made 
you think He was divine. We want to remember that although He was very 
God He was also very man. He was just as much God as if He had never 
been man; He was just as much man as if He had never been God. We 
should never lose sight of the fact that in the incarnation Jesus "made him- 
self of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was 
made in the likeness of men." There was no halo over His head; however, 
during His earthly ministry there were the outward manifestations of that 
inward glory. In the gospel of John there are seven miracles that the Lord 
Jesus performed before Calvary. These miracles were performed for a 
special reason. The reason is given in John 20:30-31, "And many other 
signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written 
in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his 
name. " Accompanying these miracles was the outward manifestation of 
that inward glory. John said, "We beheld His glory. " 

The Lord Jesus presented Himself to Israel as her long awaited 
Messiah. Though there were many that were willing to make Him king, 
the nation as such rejected Him. They cried out, "We will not have this 
man to reign over us. " Instead of a throne He was placed upon a cross. 


Little did the people know that this cross was to be the foundation of His 
kingdom. The Bible gives the meaning to His death: "Christ died for our 
sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose 
again the third day according to the scripture" (I Cor. 15:3, 4). Forty 
days after His resurrection He met with the disciples on the Mount of 
Olives. After commissioning them to be witnesses unto the uttermost part 
of the earth we read, 

While they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received 
him out .of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly 
toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by 
them in white apparel ;which also said, Ye men of Galilee, 
why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, 
which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come 
in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven (Acts 

The glory that appeared to Israel in the Person of Jesus Christ is 
now taken up into heaven but the promise is that "in like manner" he shall 
come again. Revelation 1:7 states, "Behold, he cometh with the clouds; 
and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all 
kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. " Matthew, in his vivid 
description of the Lord's return, states, "When the Son of man shall come 
in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the 
throne of his glory" (25:31). 

John and Matthew are speaking of the Lord's return unto Israel to 
establish the fallen kingdom of David. Before this great event takes place 
there shall be another event. This is referred to as the rapture of the 
church. The rapture and the revelation are not the same. The glory that 
pertains to Israel will be seen at the revelation, that is, when He comes 
to establish His kingdom. There is no glory connected with the rapture. 
I Corinthians 15:51-52 states: 

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but 
we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of 
an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, 
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall 
be changed. 

In I Thessalonians 4:14-17 we read, 

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a 
shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with thetrump 
of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we 
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together 


with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and 
so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

The "clouds" spoken of are not clouds of glory but saints. They shall be 
in such great numbers that they shall appear as clouds. This is the secret 
rapture. No unbelieving eye will witness this great event. It is different, 
however, when the Lord returns to Israel because at this time the glory 
that pertaineth to Israel will return and they shall once again "behold His 
glory. " 

The third blessing referred to in Romans 9:4 is 

The Covenants 

The covenants pertain to Israel. In the Old Testament there are 
three major covenants. I am mindful of the fact that numerous covenants 
are mentioned in the Old Testament but there are three major covenants. 
There is the Abrahamic Covenant found in the book of Genesis. This cov- 
enant deals with a land, the borders of which are outlined in the Word of 
God. This land is promised to the people of Israel. The covenant was 
ratified through sacrifice. It is unconditional and God had promised to 
fulfill it. Israel has never possessed the land set forth in this covenant, 
but God, Who is faithful to His promise, will some day bring it to pass. 

The second major covenant is the Mosaic Covenant. This is for 
the most part a covenant of works. God gave Israel a law. With the law 
was the promise of blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience. 
This is a conditional covenant. 

The third major covenant is the Davidic Covenant. This covenant 
has to do with a kingdom. In 2 Samuel 7:12 we read, 

And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with 
thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall 
proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his king- 
dom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will 
establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 

This promise has never been fulfilled. Solomon was not the one the Lord 
referred to. His kingdom came to an end. This kingdom is forever and 

One of the questions that was going through the minds of the disci- 
ples was, "Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" 
(Acts 1:6). The Lord did not say, "There will be no kingdom --Israel has 
been put aside. " He said, "It is not for you to know the times or the 


seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive 
power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses 
unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the 
uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:7-8). What the Lord is actually telling 
them is that the kingdom is yet future. Between the time of His ascension 
and the restoration of theDavidic kingdom He is goingto call out His church 
from among the Jews and Gentiles. When this body is complete He will 
take them unto Himself. 

Following the rapture of the church He will return to earth and 
establish the kingdom of David. This truth is clearly set forth in Acts 
15:14-17. In verse 14 we have the calling out of the church. In verse 16 
we have the restoration of Israel and the establishment of Davids kingdom. 
In verse 17 we have the universal blessing that shall be experienced by all 
men because now Israel is in the land; the king is upon the throne; the 
universal blessing as promised in the Abrahamic covenant is being expe- 
rienced by all mankind. At this time the angel's message will be fulfilled, 
for he said in Luke 1:32-33, 

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the High- 
est: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of 
his father David: And he shall reign over the house of 
Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 

Let us ever remember that 

Jesus shall reign where ere the sun 
Doth his successive journeys run, 
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore, 
Till moons shall wax and wane no more. 

There are five other blessings in this eight-fold blessing to Israel, 
which require little comment. The fourth one is 

The Law 

To Israel pertaineth the law. I take it that the Law he refers to is 
the law that God gave to Moses at Mt. Sinai. Romans 2:14 states: "When 
the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in 
the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves." The fact 
is that unto Israel the law was given. This law is the greatest document 
ever given to man. 


The fifth blessing is referred to as 

The Service of God 

The service of God refers to the temple services and these services 
were carried on by Israel's priesthood. 

The sixth blessing is 

The Promises 

The promises refer to the Messianic promises. Promises con- 
cerning the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was to come 
as the suffering servant of Jehovah to die for humanity's sin; He was to 
come as David's greater Son to reign. 

The seventh blessing is set forth in these words, 

Whose are the Fathers 

The fathers refer to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Every Jew is able 
to proudly point back to the patriarchs and say "These are our fathers. " 
No Gentile can make that boast. 

The eighth blessing is Christ: 

Of Whom as Concerning the Flesh Christ Came 

The apostle Paul states in Galatians 4:4, 

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth 
his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to re- 
deem them that were under the law, that we might 
receive the adoption of sons. 

When "the fulness of time was come" God chose a Jewish maiden to be the 
earthly parent of His eternal Son the Lord Jesus. Israel was the channel 
through whom God was going to give the world the Saviour. No greater 
blessing could ever have been bestowed upon a people. No people under 
God's heaven can make this boast. To Israel. . .Christ came, and Paul 
says, "Who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen" (Rom. 9:5). The 
apostle wants us to know that, as far as His humanity was concerned He 
was born of a Jewish maiden, but as far as His deity was concerned He 
"is over all, God blessed forever. " 


As we bring this study to a close, may I ask the question once 
again, "Is God through with the Jew?" Would you conclude from the 
evidence that God has turned His back upon Israel and will never deal with 
them again? Let the Word of God speak for itself. In Jeremiah 31:10 we 

Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it 
in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel 
will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his 

God has promised to make a new covenant with Israel and with the house 
of Judah. In verses 35-37 we read, 

Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by 
day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for 
a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves 
thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those 
ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then 
the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation 
before me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above 
can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched 
out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for 
all that they have done, saith the Lord. 

Do you grasp the prophet's message? Or, I should say, God's 
message to the nations? Unless you are able to pluck the stars from the 
heavens, or measure the heavens, or search out the foundations of the 
earth, Israel will remain a nation before God. God is not through with the 
Jew. He has hardly begun. Israel is referred to as the "people of the 
unfinished task." Soon God is going to deal again in mercy with her and, 
when He does, the world will marvel at the goodness and mercy and the 
wisdom of God, in calling this people. 



One of the many ways in which the Bible distinguishes itself from 
other ancient literature as being a direct revelation from God is in the 
biographical accounts of many of the great Old Testament saints. Time 
and time again the sins of the most godly men are exposed and denounced. 
Such a frank admission of personal sin and error is probably without parallel 
in ancient literature. 

If this great objectivity in the Biblical accounts is an indication of 
revelation, then we, as interpreters, must ever be on guard that we 
suppress our natural tendencies to elevate a hero and be frank to admit 
sin and error where it indeed exists. 

Samuel the prophet played no small role in the history of Israel 
living as he did at a time of transition from a theocracy to a monarchy. 
His virtues were many and yet his life was not without sin. He turned the 
hearts of many to the Lord and yet his own sons walked amiss, took bribes, 
and perverted the ways of the Lord. Doubtless Samuel s life was blemished 
with sin in many areas as is the life of every saint of God. It is to one of 
these questionable incidents that this paper is directed. Our quest will be- 
to attempt to show that Samuel was in error when he turned to worship 
with Saul after Saul had committed his great sin in refusing to slay utterly 
the Amalekites at the command of the Lord. 

Our considerations will be directed primarily to I Samuel 15:26 and 31 
with their context. "And Samuel said to Saul, 'I will not return with you. . . ' 
... So Samuel turned back after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord. " 


It is hard to imagine a setting with more profound and serious 
overtones than that of I Samuel 15. The occasion is familiar. Saul had 
disobeyed the command of the Lord in refusing to slay utterly the Amal- 
The author holds the B. S.A. and M.S. A. degrees from the University of 
Toronto, and is presently pursuing postgraduate study in theology at 
Grace Theological Seminary. 


ekites. This sin seemed to be the culmination of a life of disobedience 
which brought upon him the condemnation of the Lord. Verses 25 and 28 
embody the pronouncement of judgment. ". . . Because you have rejected 
the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king. . . . The 
Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to 
a neighbour of yours, who is better than you. " 

Within such a context of Divine judgment we do well to note care- 
fully the words and actions of all concerned- -in this case, Saul and Samuel. 

The seriousness of the situation is further delineated by Samuel's 
words in 15:16, "Then Samuel said to Saul, 'Stop! I will tell you what the 
Lord said to me this night'. ..." Although we are not able to say of a 
certainty all that the Lord told Samuel, we can be assured that all of the 
words uttered throughout the scene bear tremendous implications. We 
believe that Samuel's change of mind with regard to his willingness to 
worship with Saul exhibited a spiritual weakness and resulted in a serious 


When the standard works on the Old Testament are consulted, it is 
found that there is a general agreement among Biblical scholars that 
Samuel's capitulation to Saul's pleadings are in order and easily explained. 
Condemnation of the prophet is difficult to come by. 

Our contention is not that these standard explanations are not with- 
out value. We do, however, feel that they fall short of explaining the 
motives and outcome of certain aspects of Samuel's encounter with Saul. 

We are going to take the liberty to express some of these views at 
this point and then present some observations and conclusions of our own. 

F. B. Meyer: 

Finally, Samuel stayed with him that the elders might not 
become disaffected and that the people generally might 
have no idea of the deposition of the king, lest the king- 
dom itself might totter to its fall before his successor 
was prepared to take his place. He stayed therefore. 1 

S. Ridout: 

Saul begs that Samuel will return with him, still to honor 
the Lord in sacrifice; but the prophet cannot compromise. 
The declaration of judgment had been final, and could 


not be retracted. Saul was a rejected man, and there 
must be no uncertainty to this. Therefore the prophet, 
whatever his personal feelings may be, turns away from 
the suppliant king. . . .Again Saul pleads. . . . Saul 
consents to this, as God had His own ways of working 
out His purposes. It was not necessary that Saul should 
be outwardly deposed at once. His own conduct will 
manifest his unfitness for his position, and therefore, it 
could be no compromise for Samuel to return thus and 
worship with the king. "2 

Keil and Delitzsch: 

The sub presupposes that Samuel was about to go away 
after executing his commission. . . .After this declar- 
ation as to the irrevocable character of the determina- 
tion of God to reject Saul, Samuel yielded to the renewed 
entreaty of Saul, that he would honour him by his presence 
before the elders and the people, and remain whilst Saul 
worshipped. . .also to carry out the ban upon Agag, 
whom Saul had spared. ... 3 

J. P. Lange: 

Samuel's turning away from Saul was a vigorous confir- 
mation of his rejection, and a sign that he would hence- 
forth have no association with him. ... He then acceded 
to Saul's request, not, of course, to yield to his selfish 
opposition to God's honour, but to preserve unimpaired 
in the eyes of the people the position of Saul's kingdom... .4 

T. Scott: 

. . .Samuel however, perhaps by divine directive, changed 
his mind and delayed his departure; that he might not 
occasion any disturbance among the people, and that he 
might execute the justice of God upon Agag. 5 

Gray and Adams: 

. . ."not return," public disapproval of Saul's act must 
be shown. . . . And to this request Samuel accedes. "6 

M. Pool: 

. . . "I will not return with thee": this was no lie, though 


he afterwards returned, because he spoke what he meant; 
his words and intentions agreed together, though after- 
wards he saw reason to change his intentions: . . .Samuel 
turned again first, that people might not upon pretence 
of this sentence of rejection immediately withdraw all 
respect and obedience to their sovereign; . . . secondly, 
that he might rectify Saul's error, and execute God's 
judgment upon Agag. 7 

Seventh -Day Advent ist: 

There were perhaps two reasons why Samuel changed his 
mind: (1) He wanted to do everything possible to win Saul 
as an individual. (2) His known disapproval of Saul might 
lead some of the discontented spirits in Israel to use this 
as an excuse to revolt. 8 

The foregoing lengthy list of comments has been given to show that 
without apparent exception, Biblical commentators explain or excuse 
Samuel's change of mind in a few common ways. He did it either to win 
Saul, to prevent the people from forsaking Saul, or to slay Agag. Only 
one commentator was found who thought that Samuel might have received 
a Divine directive to change his mind. 

In several cases, comments are made suggesting that Samuel's 
initial refusal was made in order to give a public disapproval of Saul's sin. 
If such is true, then it would seem difficult, if not impossible, to justify 
his later change of mind at the insistence of Saul. Nor does it seem proper 
to excuse Samuel's capitulation to Saul's demands by saying that he did 
not actually worship with him. Verse 26 makes it clear that Samuel would 
not even return with Saul whether to worship or not. There seems to be 
no justification whatever in attributing to Samuel's words the idea of 
returning to worship. He would return for no reason whatever. 

The only explanation of Saul's actions which seems in any way 
plaus ible is the argument that Saul was expressinghis own intention initially 
but was actually carrying out a Divine directive when he returned with 
Saul. Again, this explanation seems difficult to substantiate from the text. 
How do we know that one as opposed to the other or either of Samuel's 
actions were Divinely directed? To hold that the latter action only was 
Divinely directed is an argument from silence. The thrust seems to be 
that since Samuel returned, this fact presupposes a word from the Lord. 
This to me seems to put one onthe dangerous ground of plac ing the integrity 
of the man above the integrity of the plain statement of Scripture. 


My conclusion thus far is that there is no satisfactory explanation 
for Samuel's capitulation to Saul's strong requests. The arguments used 
do not in any way clear the problem. They use the logic that the end 
justifies the means, e.g. : Samuel yields to Saul (against his better judg- 
ment) in order to retain the favour of the people. The principle of sepa- 
ration in worship is sacrificed to the pressure of public opinion. The argu- 
ment concerning the slaying of Agag holds no greater weight. The slaying 
of Agag did not necessitate Saul's presence with Samuel in public worship. 
To argue thus seems futile at best. 

The conclusion that Samuel's yielding to Saul's request constituted 
a sin, can be well argued from the statements of verses 25 and 28 alone. 
Our surprise is that no commentary consulted even suggested that Samuel 
might have been in error at this point. There seems to be a genuine 
reluctance to lower him from his priestly pedestal. But Samuel's own 
contradictory words do not exhaust the arguments in favour of the view 
being presented. There are, we believe, at least two other arguments 
from circumstantial evidence which we believe support this view. To these 
arguments we now direct our attention. 


The first argument given concerns Samuel's refusal to separate 
himself from a flagrant sinner in the act of worship. To our knowledge, 
all commentators agree that Saul's words in verse 30: "I have sinned. . ." 
do not, at this point at least, indicate true repentance. The Pulpit Com- 
mentary concludes: "We have here no real confession of guilt. "9 Ellicott, 
quoting St. Gregory, states: "If Saul had been really penitent, he would 
pray to have been humble rather than to be honoured." 10 Kirkpatrick in 
the Cambridge Commentary deals a death blow to any argument that Saul 
may have been sincere. He states that "John 5:44 and 14:43 point to the 
radical defect in Saul's character." 1 1 It will be well to quote these verses 
here. John 5:44, "How can you believe who receive glory from one another 
and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" John 12:43, "For 
they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Although these 
quotes are from the New Testament, they simple echo the thrust of 
Samuel's eloquent words to Saul on this very occasion, "Behold, to obey is 
better than sacrifice." Saul's insincerity was therefore shown by his words 
and he was thus excluded as a candidate for public worship with a man of 

Saul's misdirected enthusiasm also shows in his actions toward 
Samuel. Verse 27 tells us, "As Samuel turned to go away, Saul laid hold 
upon the skirt of his robe, and it tore. " Now this act on the part of Saul 
was contrary to Scripture which plainly teaches that the garment of the 


priest must not be torn. Exodus 28:32, "It shall have in it an opening for 
the head, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a 
garment, that it may not be torn " (underlining mine). The Scriptural 
teaching that the priest's garment must not be torn was carried out with 
regard to our Lord as prophesied in Psalm 22:18, "They divide my gar- 
ments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots. " The fulfillment 
of this prophecy is recorded in John 19:24, "So they said one to another, 
' Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.' This was 
to fulfill the scripture" (underlining mine). Now this remarkable fulfill- 
ment of Scripture seems to bear significant implications. The tearing of 
a priest's garment was a serious matter. Samuel knew that it was and 
knew also that Saul had committed, in his desperate actions, this sin. 
The violence of Saul is well attested to in the remarks given by the Pulpit 
Commentary. "Now the m e ilo was not a loosely flowing garment, but 
fitted rather closely to the body, and, therefore, the tearing of it implies 
a considerable amount of violence on Saul's part. "12 Kirkpatrick differs 
in his description when he describes the skirt of his mantle as "some kind 
of lappet or flap hanging down behind, which could be easily torn off. "13 
Despite the uncertainty of the garment's structure, there can be no doubt 
about the action. Saul tore it. 

In view of Saul's violent actions it would then seem entirely inappro- 
priate for Samuel to worship with Saul at this time. 

Samuel's error may be further hinted at in verse 35. "And Samuel 
did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over 
Saul. . ." I Samuel 19:24 does not contradict this statement. "All inter- 
course with Saul on Samuel's side ceased from now on, since God had 
rejected him, and Samuel could have met him only as a messenger and 
prophet of God. "14 Normally, the fact that Saul and Samuel had no more 
encounters (except that of I Samuel 19:24) is considered a judgment upon 
Saul. The account, however, seems to put Samuel under considerable 
judgment also. It was Samuel who grieved the loss of their friendship. 
And later on in I Samuel 28:15, 19, 20 we are told that Saul was permitted 
to disquiet Samuel. Although this is known to be a problem verse, there 
is a suspicion that the disquieting of Samuel on the part of Saul may have 
been a permissive act by God upon Samuel because he did not himself 
voluntarily separate from Saul. The fact that Samuel saw Saul no more 
illustrates a further Biblical teaching set forth by Paul in I Corinthians 5. 
Because Samuel did not separate himself and mourn for Saul willingly, he 
was forced into it circumstantially by God. Paul taught the Corinthians 
that they should mourn for those who sin (I Cor. 5:2) and should "drive out 
the wicked person from among you" (I Cor. 5:13). Despite his refusal to 
do such, the Biblical concept of separation was accomplished in the life of 



The defense of our thesis is now complete. Let us summarize in 

Samuel seems to have been in error when he yielded to Saul's 
request to return and worship. Our substantiation is threefold. First, 
Samuel's words are contradictory. He was right either the first or the 
second time, but not both. Biblical principles of separation indicate that 
he was correct in his initial statement and in error in his ultimate action. 
Second, Saul's violent action in tearing Samuel's garment disqualified him 
as a person with whom to worship (perhaps Samuel himself was temporarily 
disqualified, too, because of his torn garment) and Samuel's public 
recognition with him was an error. Third, the ultimate results of the 
incident indicate that Samuel's unwillingness to separate from Saul was 
brought about despite his actions. 


1. F. B. Meyer, Samuel the Prophet, (New York: Fleming H. Revell 
Co., n.d. ) p. 194. 

2. S. Ridout, King Saul, the Man after the Flesh , (New York: Loizeaux 
Brothers, Bible Truth Depot, n.d.) p. 171. 

3. C. F. Keil and F. Delitzch, Biblical Commentary on the Books of 
Samuel , (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1950), p. 158. 

4. J. P. Lange, Commentary on the Holy Scripture , translated P. 
Schaff, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, n.d.) p. 210. 

5. T. Scott, The Holy Bible with Explanatory Notes, Practical Obser- 
vations and Copious Marginal References , Vol. II, (Boston: Samuel 
T. Armstrong, 1831) p. 1070. 

6. J. C. Gray and G. M. Adams, Bible Commentary , Vol. I, (Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, n.d.) p. 734. 

7. M. Pool, Annotations Upon the Holy Bible , Vol. I, (New York: R. 
Carter Bro. , 1853) p. 551. 

8. The Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary ,Vol. II, Ed. F.D.Nichol, 
(Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Association, 1954 )p. 527. 

9. The Pulpit Commentary , Ed. H. Spence and J. Excell, (New York: 
Funk and Wagnalls Co., n.d.) p. 268. 

10. C. J. Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers , Vol. II, 
(New York: Cassell and Co. Ltd., n.d.) p. 358. 

11. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges , The First Book of 
Samuel, Ed. A. F. Kirkpatrick, (Cambridge: 1911) p. 147. 

12. Spence, op. cit. , p. 267. 

13. Kirkpatrick, op. cit. , p. 146. 

14. Lange, op. cit. , p. 211. 


WHAT'S NEW IN RELIGION? By Kenneth Hamilton. William B. Eerdmans 
Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1968. $3.95. 

New theologies, new moralities, or are they, really? Kenneth 
Hamilton seeks to demonstrate that what seems new is really a recasting 
in different verbiage of ideas that have crossed the theological and moral 
ethics stages in the past. Hamilton's thesis is discussed in Part 1 of his 
book. Part 2 analyzes various new religious themes in four subdivisions. 
Hamilton's Part 2 looks at the chief elements of the more conspicuous 
theological tenets palmed off as uniquely different religious topics. Part 
3 is devoted to Bonhoeffer's "worldly" Christianity. Part 4 deals with the 
secular in faith and morals. Hamilton concludes with assorted treatments 
of liberalism and conservatism with consideration of the conflicts between 

Hamilton demonstrates an understanding grasp of the doctrines of 
the new theologies and doctrinal offshoots. Perhaps a bit too advanced for 
the average layman, Hamilton's book is a useful tool for seminary students 
and ministers desiring to be knowledgeable in the new theologies without 
bogging down in special seminary religion courses. Read Hamilton's 
book. Then see if the themes he discusses are easier to comprehend. If, 
then, you have difficulties with the new religious thinking, do not blame 
Kenneth Hamilton. Condemn the complexities of the new theologies! 

One thing for sure, Hamilton's book can save ministers a heavy 
cash outlay in the original texts of the doctrinal systems underlying the 
new religion. 

Benjamin A. Hamilton 
Grace Theological Seminary 

CONQUEST AND CRISIS. By John J. Davis. Baker Book House, Grand 
Rapids, 1969. $2.95. 176 pp (paper). 

Pastors, teachers and laymen will welcome this concise analysis 
of Israel's history according to Joshua, Judges and Ruth. In our day when 
liberals rewrite, redate and reduce Biblical history, more scholarly 



pens like this one need to write. Dr. John J. Davis systematically con- 
siders the messages of these books adding light from recent archaeological 
findings, ancient Near Eastern history and the Hebrew text. He conser- 
vatively maintains the inspiration of the Word and the unity of the books. 

The author faces the difficult problems, gives possible solutions 
and accepts a personal view: e.g. Joshua's extended light by refraction 
(p. 66), the supernatural collapse of Jericho's walls (pp. 46, 47), and the 
supply of wives to Benjamin without breaking of the oath (p. 152). Examples 
of moral problems under his consideration are Rahab's 'situational' lie 
(p. 35), the death of all living things in captured cities (pp. 48, 49), and 
Ruth's uncovering of Boaz's skirt (pp. 165-167). Without the enlightening 
pen of Dr. Davis, the reader might miss significant facts such as the left- 
handed Ehud drew his dagger from opposite the normal holstering position 
and thereby, disarmed the attention of King Eglon. If Joshua practiced the 
Book of the Law, Moses must have already written this Law. The "hornet" 
of Joshua 24:12 is a figurative reference to the panic -producing power of 
God, which overcame both Sihon and Og. 

The practical considerations of Dr. Davis are refreshing. He 
makes scattered applications throughout the book and sets aside some 
concluding paragraphs of chapters for special emphasis. The author avoids 
excessive spiritual ization and typological approach. A central idea is that 
limited success in spiritual warfare is due to the half-hearted obedience 
on the part of believers. 

Sixteen excellent illustrations of maps, charts and photographs are 
found in this work. Dr. Davis includes an index, a transliteration form to 
aid with Hebrew and Greek words and a bibliography of over sixty books, 
articles and periodicals. His clear chapter divisions make easy reference 
work. Two minor criticisms which in no way detract from this excellent 
work are (1) identification should be made of the author who suggests 
trumpet pitches for destruction of Jericho's walls (p. 46); (2) Ruth 1:1 
should read Ruth 3:1 (p. 165). Dr. Davis is the Associate Professor of 
Old Testament and Hebrew at Grace Theological Seminary. 

Community Church 
Tippecanoe, Indiana 

James H. Gabhart 

Book House, Grand Rapids, 1968. 1104 pp. $14.95. 

The reprinting of this remarkable work is certainly a service to 
every serious Bible student. The paucity of helpful literature on the subject 


makes this volume particularly welcome. Although it was originally pub- 
lished in London in 1898, the book has been relatively unknown until now. 
It seems incredible that the two most widely used recent textbooks on 
hermeneutics (by Ramm and Mickelsen)make no mention of it whatsoever. 

The task of interpreting the harder portions of Scripture meets one 
of its greatest challenges in the understanding of the figurative language 
found everywhere in the Bible. Interpreters have often assumed one of two 
extremes in treating Biblical figures of speech. On the one hand, some 
scholars refuse to recognize the existence o f the figures in favor of a 
forced literalism. On the other hand, some adopt a special hermeneutic 
for many figurative sections resulting in an allegorizing of those Scriptures. 
Bullinger's book posits a correct literalism which accepts the presence and 
significance of figurative language in addition to the literal language of the 
Bible, and interprets all Biblical language in the sense that was normal to 
the author and the original readers. 

Bullinger has written an exhaustive work on the figurative language 
of God's Word. He catalogs and discusses no less than two hundred 
seventeen distinct figures, all classified in three divisions:figures involving 
omission, addition, or change. For each figure the author gives in 
systematic order (1) the etymology of the name of the figure, (2) explana- 
tion and synonyms of the figure, and (3) a number of Scripture quotations 
where the figure is used, giving full explanation of its use in each instance. 
Some figures appear only once in the entire Bible. Others occur hundreds 
of times. For these frequent figures Bullinger offers representative 
examples, e.g. for Hyperbole he lists fifty-eight passages. The total list 
of illustrations includes nearly eight thousand texts! 

The value of a reference work is largely dependent on the calibre 
of its indices. The busy pastor and professor will especially appreciate 
the fifty-six page index of Biblical texts. There are six other exhaustive 
listings indexing (1) proper names of figures, (2) English equivalents of 
figures, (3) special literary structures cited from Scriptures, (4 )subjects, 
(5) Hebrew words explained, and (6) Greek words explained. 

Ethelbert W. Bullinger (1837-1913) is best known to Grace Journal 
readers as the father of ultra-dispensationalsim. Furthermore, he held 
the aberrant doctrine of soul-sleep. Thus, despite his record as a 
distinguished Anglican clergyman, editor, musician, and prolific author 
of seventy-seven scholarly works, Bullinger's name arouses suspicion. In 
this volume, some of the author's divergent views subtly appear in his 
interpretations of Scripture, e.g. note his position on the intermediate 
state of the dead in Christ implied in his treatment of Philippians 1:23, 
2 Corinthians 5:6,8, and other texts. However, this volume was obviously 


not intended to be an exposition of the author's special beliefs, and one 
must search for such explanations that do rarely occur. Even when con- 
sidered collectively they do not constitute a major detraction from the 
enduring importance and value of this work. 

Robert F. Ramey 

Grace Theological Seminary 

BRIMSTONE CHURCH. B y H. Crosby Englizian. Moody Press, Chicago. 

286 pp. $4.95. 

Graduate of Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary, 
Englizian has produced a book based on his Dallas Theological Seminary 
dissertation that gives an enlightening, entertaining and enthusiastic survey 
of Boston's Park Street Church history. 

Englizian's work pleasingly lacks the boring mechanical array of 
data that characterizes many church history treatises. 

Accounts of the founding of Park Street Church in chapters 2 and 3 
of Brimstone Corner mirror the religious climate of Boston and the reli- 
gious qualities of leading churchgoers of early nineteenth-century days. 
Problems associated with maintenance of church disciplines and humorous 
solutions provided by Park Street Church are noted in chapter 5. 

Early in its history the noteworthy Boston church became interested 
in Congregational foreign mission endeavors in Hawaii (then a foreign 
kingdom) and Liberia (then an American colonization project for freed 
slaves in Africa). Park Street Church supported several additional benev- 
olent societies simultaneously and Englizian capably records their impact 
on the church (chapter 6). He reports the pros and cons accompanying the 
introduction of Sunday schools into Park Street Church in a day when such 
groups were controversial efforts to reach young people (chapter 8). 

In the last nineteenth-century decade Park Street Church experi- 
enced a serious decline (chapters 14, 15 Brimstone Corner ). Englizian's 
version of the sad events cover the background of the downfall in an under- 
standable way. Fortunately, the church decline was followed by an 
encouraging rebirth at the dawn of the current century and the events show 
an encouraging resurge of faith at the hands of Englizian. 

Brimstone Corner 's author sketches prominent personalities in the 
life of Park Street Church in a way that makes them live. Each character- 
ization introduces features and qualities about the men sometimes unknown. 
Englizian's two-page conclusion regarding Park Street Church is enlightening. 


A comprehensive bibliography, assorted appendices and biographical 
digests of all Park Street Church pastors are useful appendages. The 
album of Park Street Church is appropriately ample in extent and the 
restraint on footnotes takes away a feature of dissertations that annoys. 

Benjamin A. Hamilton 

Grace Theological Seminary 

THE BOOK OF OBADIAH. By Don W. Hill is. Baker Book House, Grand 
Rapids, 1968. 75 pp. $1.95, paper. 

The two key features of this book are the discussions on Esau and 
the gathering of pertinent Scriptures to illuminate the text of Obadiah. The 
pride and hatred of the Edomites after their father Esau bring their 
destruction. Many Scriptures outside of Obadiah confirm the judgment of 
God against all who subsequently travel this course. Obadiah is God's 
"telegram "--a brief prophecy with a significant spiritual message. 

Dr. Don W. Hillis, Associate Director of TEAM, considers the 
theme of Obadiah in five words "Edom's doom and Israel's glory." Of the 
twelve Obadiah's in the Bible, the author lets the reader decide the true 
author of this book. The same consideration is given on the date of Obadiah. 
After six pages of discussion on the early, middle and late datings of 
Obadiah, Dr. Hillis encourages the reader to focus attention on the message 
rather than the date of the work. 

About fifty percent of the book is an exposition of Obadiah's message. 
The work is non-technical and primarily non-devotional. Historical refer- 
ences are enlightening and many quotations of the author are profitable. 
The bibliography is unusual in that it is neither alphabetical nor systematic 
in arrangement. The applications for the reader in Chapter VIII, "Obadiah 
Speaks Today," could be profitably sprinkled into Chapters V-VII. Several 
quotations from authors such as Omar Bradley (p. 41), Joseph Cohn (p. 35) 
and David Johnson (pp. 69, 70) are not identified as to their sources. 

This book from the Shield Bible Study series is recommended. 

James H. Gabhart 

Community Church 
Tippecanoe, Indiana 


van Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 405 pp. $6.95. 

With characteristic clarity and freshness, Dr. Baxter makes 
another contribution to the shelf of synthetical Bible studies. His earlier 
work, Explore the Book, an interpretive course of Bible study from Genesis 
to Revelation, has proved edifying and instructive to thousands. Since 
most Christians are over fed on analytical Bible study, this book will help 
its readers to a needed dimension in their knowledge of God's Word. 

The volume is subtitled, "A Series of Studies in the Structural and 
Dispensational Characteristics of the Bible. " As such the work is not a 
book-by-book study of the Scriptures. Instead it offers thematic studies 
classified as either "architectural" or dispensational. Many of these 
studies offer little new information to the seasoned Bible student. However, 
the old truths are presented with creative insights and unusual outlines, 
tables, and charts which will certainly stimulate greater appreciation and 
study of the Word. 

The chapter on the Christocentric nature of the Bible is particularly 
refreshing. It is remarkable to read Dr. Baxter s section on Old Testament 
typology in a day when this subject is admitted with reluctance and discussed 
with reticence. 

Perhaps the most creative studies are found in the three chapters, 
covering fifty pages, devoted to the "re-survey" and "re-thinking" of the 
book of Acts. It is the author's contention that the entire book of Acts is 
"primarily a renewed offer of the Kingdom of Heaven to the nation Israel." 
Dr. Baxter offers convincing evidence for this unique position, while 
rejecting the teachings of Pentecostalism on the one hand and Ultra-dispen- 
sationalism on the other. It should be noted that some of Baxter's state- 
ments describing Pentecostalism have been recently quoted out of context, 
giving the impression that he advocates the "second blessing" doctrine. 
This is not so (see pages 341, 342). 

There are some regrettable aspects about the book. It is dis- 
appointing that this careful Bible scholar allows the loud voice of uniform- 
itarian geology to convince him that the Noahic Flood was a local event. 
Repeatedly Baxter singles out the Scofield Reference Bible (both the older 
and new editions) for pointed, though respectful, attacks, particularly in 
regard to the notes on the Kingdom of God. In a book of such wide scope, 
the total absence of any type of index is most unfortunate. However, 
despite any blemishes this work might have, it is heartily recommended to 
Grace Journal readers. 

Robert F. Ramey 
Grace Theological Seminary 


BABYLON AND THE BIBLE. By Gerald A. Larue. Baker Book House, 

Grand Rapids, 1969. 86 pp. $1.95, paper. 
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND THE BIBLE. By Charles F. Pfeiffer. Baker 

Book House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 152 pp. $2.95, paper. 

WAUGH. By Paul A. Doyle. Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 

Grand Rapids, 1969. 48 pp. $.95, paper. 

By Peter Kreeft. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand 

Rapids, 1969. 48 pp. $.95, paper. 


Stanford. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 

1969. 48 pp. $.95, paper. 

MOORE, By Sister M. Therese. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing 

Company, Grand Rapids, 1969. 48 pp. $.95, paper. 

The Craig Press, Nutley, New Jersey, 1969. 245 pp. $4.95, paper. 
EVOLUTION AND CHRISTIAN FAITH. By Bolton Davidheiser. The Pres- 
byterian and Reformed Publishing Co. , Nutley, New Jersey, 1969. 

372 pp. $6.95. 

Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. , Nutley, New Jersey, 

1969. 383 pp. $6.50. 

James Bjornstad. Bethany Fellowship, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, 

1969. 151 pp. $2.95. 
BY ALL MEANS. By Marvin Markock. Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 

Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1969. 174 pp. $1.95, paper. 
NAMES AND TITLES OF CHRIST. By Francis H. Oerk. Bethany Fellow- 
ship, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1969. 164 pp. $3.95. 
HOLY IN CHRIST. By Andrew Murray. Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 

Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1969 (reprint). 280 pp. $1.95, paper. 
ALWAYS A WINNER. By Don Shinnick as told to James C. Hefley. Zonder- 

van Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 217 pp. $3.95. 
LAST THINGS. By H. Leo Eddleman. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand 

Rapids, 1969. 160 pp. $3.95. 




Fellowship, Inc. , Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1969 (reprint). 192pp. 

$1.50, paper. 
MAN IN TRIUMPH. By Harold W. Darling. Zondervan Publishing House, 

Grand Rapids, 1969. 158 pp. $3.95. 
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE FAITH. Edited by Carl F. H. Henry. Zonder- 
van Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 291pp. $5.95. 

Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 491+pp. $9.95. 
THE ZONDERVAN TOPICAL BIBLE. Edited by Edward Viening. Zondervan 

Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 1114 pp. $9.95. 

H. Raasch. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri, 1969. 

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Winona Lake, Indiana 


FALL 1970 


A publication of Grace Theological Seminary 



AND LACK OF DATA Forest Weddle 3 




DEUTERO-ISAIAH Ronald E. Manahan 22 

THE MEANEMG OF II KINGS 3:27 George M. Harton 34 



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FOR MOSHER LIBRARY (Dallas Theological Seminary) 






Fort Wayne Bible College 

The science of archaeology came to the aid of the Bible student 
at a time when destructive higher criticism, spawned by seventeenth cen- 
tury English deism and eighteenth century German rationalism, was 
making severe inroads on the credibility of the historical records in the 
Bible. At first the critical scholars discounted the claims of archaeology. 
When Hermann Hilprecht discovered bricks in the ruins of a Babylonian 
temple bearing the stamp of a king whom the scholars believed to be mythi- 
cal, they accused Hilprecht of fabricating the temple ruins himself as a 
hoax. But, little by little, surely and inexorably, the retreat began. 
Today no reputable archaeologist, liberal or conservative, would presume 
to undertake the excavation of a Biblical site without studying very care- 
fully all that the Bible has to say about it. To do so may save hours or 
days of futile effort. 

Perhaps because archaeology made the Bible stories come alive by 
bringing to the daylight the very objects looked upon or used by people of 
Bible times, it earned its earliest reputation as a means to "prove the 
Bible true. " No doubt this is the role in which archaeology holds its chief 
interest to the layman today. It is quite limited in this respect, however. 
Its usefulness is confined almost entirely to the corroboration of Biblical 
history and cognate areas, such as anthropology and sociology. In only 
the rarest of cases can it provide proofs pertaining to doctrine, religion, 
or ethics --areas which do not lend themselves so easily to objective proof. 

This paper was read before the Midwestern section of the Evangelical 
Theological Society at Winona Lake, Indiana, April 17, 1970. 


An even more important function of archaeology, however, has 
been its ability to provide an accurate setting or backdrop for the Bible 
story. As techniques become more refined, the reconstruction of the past 
has been accomplished^ in much greater detail, and this has proved an 
invaluable aid to the proper understanding of the Bible. Archaeology is, 
therefore, a hermeneutic as well as an apologetic. 

Science has made tremendous strides in this age. Nevertheless, 
the sincere scientist is quite humble in his attitude toward his chosen field. 
He knows only too well the limitations of science and is constantly re- 
examining his own assumptions. The layman, on the other hand, has been 
conditioned to the marvels of science. Almost unquestioningly he accepts 
the premise that if science says it is true, that settles it. Who dares to 
challenge it? 

The scientific methods employed by archaeology place it in this 
enviable position of seeming infallibility. If then some new insight into 
the interpretation of data or the acquisition of new data makes it necessary 
to revise the thesis formerly held, some persons may become badly shaken. 
They wonder just what they can believe. Didn't science say it was so? 
How then can it be altered so readily? Less mature individuals may be- 
come deeply disturbed by such instances. They feel somehow that, by 
changing his views, the archaeologist has let them down. 

It should be borne in mind, however, that with archaeology, as with 
any other science, the existing body of knowledge obtained through the 
scientific method, lies at varying levels of certainty. Some facts are so 
well-attested that their certainty is virtually absolute. There is, for ex- 
ample, extremely little likelihood that any evidence will turn up to dis- 
prove the existence of a nation called the Hittites or of such persons as 
Sargon II (formerly known only in the Bible, and then only in one place, 
Isaiah 20:1), or of a Babylonian king named Belshazzar; yet each of these 
now -accepted facts was at one time regarded as mythical. 

It was once argued that the Book of Daniel must necessarily be of 
late date because it contains Greek names for certain musical instruments, 
and Greek was surely unknown to the Hebrews of the traditional date of 
Daniel. The finding of Greek shields and weapons at the site of the battle 
of Carchemish, however, revealed the fact that Pharaoh Necho had Greek 
mercenary soldiers marching in his army when he came through Israel in 
Josiah's day. Recent evidence of the great antiquity of the Greek language 
makes it highly unlikely that the Hebrews knew nothing of the Greeks. This 
will be discussed later. 

At a somewhat lower level of certainty are the conclusions which, 
although apparently well-established, could conceivably be altered if enough 


evidence to the contrary should present itself. An example has to do with 
the location of Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham's birthplace. In earlier days, 
both northern and southern sites were suggested for Ur. Many favored a 
site somewhere in Northern Mesopotamia. The Chebar River or place of 
Ezekiel's exile^ was believed to be the Khabur or Habor River in upper 
Mesopotamia near Haran. Urfa (later called Edessa) was one suggested 
site for Ur. Woolley's discovery of the amazing and very ancient civiliza- 
tion in lower Mesopotamia led to a greater confidence in the southern Ur 
as the probable site of Abraham's city, and the Chebar River, in turn, was 
believed to be a canal in Babylonia. But not all abandoned the northern site. 
Cyrus Gordon^ argues for a place called Ura which seems to have been 
northeast of Haran. In the royal palace at Ugarit was found a tablet sent 
to the King of Ugarit by his superior, Hattusil III of Hattusa, the Hittite 
capital in Asia Minor. The tablet stipulates that traveling merchants from 
Ura could not purchase real estate, no doubt lest they gain too much con- 
trol in the land. The Genesis narrative twice refers to the patriarchs as 
traders and Abraham is said to have had much silver and gold as well as 
flocks and herds. Gordon, therefore, believes Abraham to be one of 
these traders rather than a mere bedawah. When Abraham sought to pur- 
chase a burial ground for Sarah, the Hittites said, "Thou art a mighty 
prince among us."" Gordon saw this statement as the Hittites' way of 
justifying a sale which normally would be open to question. The fact that 
Abraham's Ur is said to be "of the Chaldees" does not postulate a southern 
location, for Xenophon in the Anabasis mentions Chaldeans living in 
Armenia. ' Opinion still favors a southern Ur, but further data could pos- 
sibly call for a revision. 

The third level of certainty with regard to data pertains to those 
items which elicit speculation rather than certainty. Perhaps the interpre- 
tation is based on some single item of evidence which gives rise to an inter- 
esting theory unsupported, however, by any other data. Examples are 
Woolley's conjecture that the clay deposit at Ur was made by Noah's flood, 
and Glueck's belief that Solomon had invented blast furnaces to smelt cop- 
per in his day. Both of these proposals were seen in a different light by 
other archaeologists, as we shall see later. 

There is indeed a sense in which archaeological evidence is infallible. 
It is simply this: that no matter what may be found in the process of exca- 
vation, there is some valid reason why it is what it is and where it is. 
Therefore, field work must be carried on with great attention to the most 
minute details, and the recording of evidence must be with extreme accu- 
racy; for these are the objective data which, in a sense, cannot lie. 

From this point on, however, the subjective element enters the pic- 
ture, and the steps in the archaeological process may involve error. 


Employing all available evidence, the archaeologist must arrive at a con- 
clusion concerning what he has found. It will be influenced by many fac- 
tors besides the objective evidence. Among these will be the archaeolo- 
gist's experience with other sites and with the specific cultures repre- 
sented in the present site; his degree of familiarity with many disciplines 
such as history, language, anthropology and perhaps even physics and 
chemistry. He must draw upon his knowledge in many fields in order to 
integrate the scattered items of evidence and make them tell a coherent 

But this is not all. Even the most objectively -minded interpreter 
cannot fully escape from his cultural, religious, and philosophical biases. 
The annals of archaeology are replete with examples where bias affected 
interpretation. From his childhood Heinrich Schliemann was determined 
to dig up the Troy of which Homer sang. Therefore, when he dug, he was 
convinced that he had found it, although later investigation revealed that the 
Troy he dug up far antedated the one which he was seeking. 

The Tell el Amarna letters were a collection of clay tablets writ- 
ten in cuneiform or wedge-shaped characters. They were found in 1887 
by an Egyptian woman prowling in a rubbish heap. Scholars refused to 
consider them because they knew that cuneiform writing and clay tablets 
were not used in ancient Egypt. Assuredly they must be spurious. It was 
Sir Wallis Budge who discovered that the letters consisted of international 
correspondence sent by kings in Palestine and the Fertile Crescent to the 
Egyptian Pharaoh. Bias has delayed for a time the importance of the dis- 

Again Minoan Linear B when first investigated showed signs of being 
some form of Greek, but it was deemed certain that the Greek language 
was not that old; therefore, the scholars wandered afield in their attempts 
at decipherment. By the perseverance of Michael Ventris was it finally 
shown that the Greek language was much older than had been believed. ° 

There has been frequent need for revision of theories in recent 
years. Much of this, perhaps, is due to the great amount of archaeologi- 
cal effort being put forth and the consequent volume of data brought to 
light. Today there is a strong demand for early reporting. A few decades 
ago, it was regarded as rather unscholarly to announce discoveries and 
draw conclusions except after exhaustive study of all that had been un- 
covered. Months and years might elapse before an official report was 
published. Today the demand is for comprehensive reports as early as 
possible, reserving the detailed technical treatment for a later time. 
This practice of early reporting is eagerly received, for there is a fresh- 
ness and excitement about getting immediate data. But short-notice 


reporting may call for a certain amount of conjecture; therefore, we must 
be willing to accept revision of theories when all the parts have been put 

Sometimes revision has come without the need for additional data. 
Other scholars using the same data have come to a different conclusion. 
Such was the case with Woolley's flood layer, previously mentioned. 
Woolley was persuaded that an eight-foot layer of water-laid clay at Ur 
was the result of a single great inundation. Besides the fact that it appeared 
to be a single deposit, Woolley observed that those who settled the site 
after the flood buried their kings on what had been the rubbish heap of the 
pre-flood people--an indication that the former people had completely per- 
ished from memory. But other competent observers attributed the clay 
deposit to the fact that the river had changed its course and flowed over 
the site for a long period, and this is the prevailing opinion now. 

Nelson Glueck's blast furnaces provide another instance of reinter- 
pretation of the same data. Glueck, working at Ezion-Geber, Solomon's 
industrial city on the Red Sea, discovered a building located in an open 
area where the northwest winds blew incessantly. There appeared to be 
funnels in the side of the building to conduct blasts of air. Glueck theo- 
rized that the building was a copper smelter employing the blast furnace- - 
a principle not to be rediscovered until about one hundred years ago. No 
less a medium than the National Geographic Magazine heralded Glueck's 
report and it became incorporated into many textbooks. However, 
Rothenberg and others found a different explanation. When the building, 
which is now believed to have been a storehouse -granary, was burned, the 
heat from the cross-timbers embedded in the wall, crumbled the masonry, 
leaving funnel-shaped holes. Glueck himself was persuaded of this later 
and graciously retreated from his original position. 

There are frequent instances where the acquisition of new data has 
forced the revision of an earlier theory. Jericho, for example, has been 
dug up several times with varying conclusions concerning the evidence. 
Garstang, from his work begun in 1929, thought he had indeed found the 
walls of Joshua's Jericho, and he set the date of their fall at about 1400 B.C. 
Dr. Kathleen Kenyon, however, excavating more recently, has dated the 
same walls much earlier. She reported that with a few exceptions all of 
Joshua's Jericho has been eroded away. ^ 

The University of Chicago, in one of the most ambitious digs under- 
taken, excavated Megiddo and found whatwasthen believed to be Solomon's 
stables and chariot houses which are mentioned in the Bible. Yadin more 
recently has traced the stratum to other parts of the mound and is per- 
suaded that the mangers and stables belong to a time later than Solomon, 
probably to that of Ahab. 16 


The acquisition of new data may not call for revision. Sometimes 
it only confirms the prevailing view. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were 
first found, there was considerable doubt that they were as oldas Albright's 
appraisal. Constant acquisition of other scrolls, discovery of the Qumran 
Monastery, and other cave occupation has tended to bear out the accuracy 
of the original appraisals, however. 

Many problems in Biblical research remain unsettled. This is dis- 
concerting to many, for it is the nature of the human mind to avoid uncer- 
tainty and insecurity. A pronouncement one way or the other is seized 
upon to set the mind at rest. Nevertheless, sincerity in the quest for 
truth demands that we withhold judgment until sufficient evidence is ob- 
tained to reach a conclusion. 

Sometimes, unhappily, the acquisition of new data only leads to 
greater confusion. The date of Israel's exodus from Egypt and conquest 
of the land is one of these knotty problems. Another long-standing puzzle 
which has been further complicated by more recent data has to do with the 
location of the walls of Jerusalem. Kathleen Kenyon has made an investi- 
gation of the north wall of Jerusalem and of the walls on Ophel, the old 
Jebusite city and the original city of David. Hennessy has given attention 
to the location of a south wall which was supposed to have joined the tip of 
Ophel to the Western Hill, thus enclosing the Pool of Siloam and the 
Tyropean Valley. As in the case of Joshua's walls at Jericho, so with the 
walls of Jerusalem, Miss Kenyon's discoveries have brought into question 
some long-entertained theories. 

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, now within the walls of the old 
city of Jerusalem is the traditional site of the crucifixion and burial of 
Christ as believed for centuries by the Roman and Greek churches as well 
as numerous Protestants. But many Protestants rejected the site on the 
grounds that it lay inside the walls of the city in Jesus' day. The tradition- 
alists proposed that the north wall turned southward near what is now the 
Damascus Gate, forming a reentrant angle thus leaving the present site of 
the Church of the Holy Sepulcher outside of the city. Macalister years ago, 
employing deductive reasoning, demonstrated that the north wall surely 
must have gone directly west with no angle in it. Miss Kenyon, resorting 
to the spade, found no wall running west. Futhermore, she found that 
Nehemiah's wall, constructed in fifty-two days, apparently did not embrace 
the western hill and that his wall on Ophel enclosed only a very restricted, 
area. If Kenyon reads the evidence correctly, the many gates of Jerusa- 
lem listed by Nehemiah must have been in quite different locations than 
has generally been assumed. Hennessy, too, could find no evidence of an 
Old Testament wall to the Western hill enclosing Siloam and the Tyropean 


Are Miss Kenyon's conclusions correct? We can only wait and see. 
Hardlv enough data have been accumulated as yet to place any view on un- 
shakable ground. Meanwhile, our theory, tentative though it may be, must 
be framed in the light of our present knowledge. 

In summary we may make the following observations: 

1. The archaeologist employs the scientific method of obtaining 
facts; consequently, he endeavors to be as objective as possible. 

2. Nevertheless, subjective factors must enter into the process of 
integration and interpretation of data. Because of this, as with any other 
science, the conclusions drawn from the observed data are subject to re- 

3. Awareness of this fact should prevent the Bible student from 
becoming disturbed when revision is necessary. 

4. He should also be aware that conclusions based on archaeologi- 
cal discovery vary in reliability with the quality and quantity of objective 
data supporting them. 

5. The sincere student should be ever willing to admit new data as 
evidence if they have been validly obtained, no matter how much they may 
tend to unseat a presently held theory. This is not to advocate a position 
of utter relativism. One may hold convictions concerning certain abso- 
lutes, but he should be aware that all of his convictions may not be abso- 
lutes. Some may be biases. The true absolutes will always stand the test 
of truth. 

6. By the same token, in relating archaeological discovery to the 
exposition of the Bible, one must be careful not to overstate the case. 

7. Even though not a specialist in archaeology, the Bible teacher 
or minister should, within the limits of his ability, try to evaluate the de- 
gree -of certainty associated with an archaeological datum. He should 
weigh the source, the quality, and quantity of evidence supporting any given 
position. If it seems speculative, statements made pertaining to it should 
be so qualified. 



1. Woolley, C. Leonard, "Archaeology, the Mirror of the Ages", 
National Geographic Magazine, LVI, 2, (August, 1928). 
pp. 207-226. 

2. Ezekiel 1:1. 

3. Gordon, Cyrus H. , "Abraham and the Merchants of Ura", Journal 
of Near - Eastern Studies , XVII, 1, (January, 1958). pp. 28-31. 

4. Genesis 34:10, 42:34. But see also the articles by E. A. Speiser 
and W. F. Albright on the word "trade" (SHR) in these passages, 
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 164:23-28, 
(December, 1961). Compare also Manfred Lehmann, "Abraham's 
Purchase of Machpelah and Hittite Law", BASOR, (February, 1953), 
p. 129. 

5. Genesis 13:2; 24:35. 

6. Genesis 23:6. 

7. Xenophon, Anabasis , 5:5:17. 

8. Chadwick, John, The Decipherment of Linear B, Vintage paperback, 
(N.Y. : Random House, 1963). 

9. Woolley, C. Leonard, Ur of the Chaldees, Pelican paperback, 
(Baltimore: Penguin Books, Original, 1930). 

10. Glueck, Nelson, "On the Trail of King Solomon's Mines", National 
Geographic Magazine , LXXXV, 2, (February, 1944), pp. 233-356 

11. Rothenberg, B. , Palestine Exploration Quarterly, XCIV, (1962), 
pp. 5-71. ~ " " 

12. Glueck, Nelson, "Ezion-Geber". Biblical Archaeologist , XXVIII, 
3, (September, 1965), pp. 70-87. 

13. Garstang, Johnand J.B. E. Garstang, The Story of Jericho , (London: 
Marshall, Morgan, and Scott, revised, 1948). 

14. Kenyon, Kathleen M. , Archaeology in the Holy Land, (New York: 
Praeger, 1960). 

15. I Kings 9:15-22. 

16. Yadin, Yigael, "New Light on Solomon's Megiddo", Biblical 
Archaeologist, XXIII, 2, (May, 1960), pp. 62-68. 

17. Macalister, R.A.S., A Century of Excavation in Palestine , (N.Y. : 
Revell, 1925), pp. 76-142. 

18. Kenyon, Kathleen M. "Excavations in Jerusalem, 1961-63", 
Biblical Archaeologist , XXVII, 2, (May, 1964). See also the two 
articles by E. W. Hamrick: "New Excavations at Sukenik's 'Third 
Wall'", BASOR 183:19-26, (October, 1966), and "Futher Notes 
on the 'Third Wall'", BASOR, 192:21-25, (December, 1968). 



Professor of New Testament Language and Literature 

Covenant Theological Seminary 

1 2 

Joseph Klausner observed that Graetz holds the view that the 

name rabbi used in the Gospels is an anachronism, the reason for this 
conclusion being given, as Goodenough observes, "because it does not fol- 
low later rabbinic usage, " the anachronism lying "in taking the later rab- 
binic usage as valid in the early period since for this period we have only 
the New Testament to certify. " Of course we do not accept as necessar- 
ily valid such a conclusion even if the New Testament were to present the 
only known evidence, on the grounds that other evidence might be forth- 
coming. As a matter of fact, we believe there is other evidence from con- 
temporary literature and archaeology to verify the accuracy of the New 
Testament picture of a Rabbi -teacher -pupil complex in the early part of 
the first century A. D. 

Albright, in commenting on the ascription to Jesus of the Aramaic 
name rabbi ( literally "my master" ) or the Greek equivalent didaskalos 
(literally "teacher") in John, states that the arguments that the number of 
passages where such terms are so ascribed show the relative lateness of 
that Gospel to the Synoptics since "these terms are much more frequent. . . 
in the former than in the latter" and "that a teacher would not be called 
rabbi in the time of Christ, " based on the claim that this was a Tannaitic 
development— such arguments are negated by Sukenik's discovery of the 
term didaskalos inscribed on a pre-A. D. 70 ossuary referring to the per- 
son whose bones were interred therein. 

Albright goes on to say that further study of didaskalos , both ar- 
chaeologically and linguistically, needs to be made, and it is our purpose 
to make such an investigation of both rabbi and didaskalos using evidence 
such as that set forth by Sukenik. 

The above article was delivered at the 14th general meeting of the Mid- 
western Section of the Evangelical Theological Society, held at Fort Wayne 
Bible College, Fort Wayne, Indiana, on April 18, 1969. 




In the New Testament the word rabbi is restricted to the Gospels 
in which it is learned that it was a title sought by Jewish religious leaders 
(Matthew 23:7), was employed in a popular or semi-popular manner by the 
crowds (John 6:25), and even by a religious leader such as Nicodemus 
(John 3:2). Jesus is addressed a number of times as "Rabbi" by His dis- 
ciples (Matthew 26:25; Mark 9:5; 11:21; 14:45; John 1:49; 4:31; 9:2; 11:8), 
and even by women in Christ's group (John 20:16). Even a wilderness 
preacher, such as John the Baptist, is called "Rabbi" by his followers 
(John 3:26). A caritative form, rabbouni (rabboni) is found in Mark 10:51 
and John 20:16. 

That the terms rabbi and didaskalos are understood in the Gospels 
as equivalents is seen in John l:38 y and John 20:16. The complex of rabbi- 
didaskalos and mathetes (disciple, learner), that is, the master -teacher 
and his group of followers, is presented regarding Jesus and His dis- 
ciples in John 1:37-38; 4:31; 9:2; 11:8, and also of John the Baptist and his 
group (John 3:26). 

That Josephus does not use the term rabbi can be explained by ob- 
serving that this author is writing in defense of his Jewish nation at least 
in part from a Roman viewpoint in which he stresses major military and 
political matters. He brings in religious material, as in his discussion of 
the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, when necessary explanation is 
needed. It is to be observed that this first century A. D. Jewish author 

does not even mention Hillel, Shammai, or Gamaliel (except, as far as 

- - 

the last name is concerned, as father of Simeon and of Jesus the high 

priest). 13 

As a possible equivalent of rabbi , Josephus uses the term sophistHs 
(J.W . I, 648, 650; II, 10: Ant. XVII, 152; XVIII, 155), 14 and possibly 
exege~te~s ( Ant. XVII, 214, 149). That this kind of substitution in terms is 
made is not too startling when it is realized that Josephus does the same 
with the word sunagoge which he uses only in Life 277 and 280 (in the lat- 
ter section the participle sunagomenon is employed), his normal term for 
the concept being proseuche ( Life, 293). 

Not too frequently does Josephus employ the term didaskalos , one 
interesting use being his reference to Jesus as didaskalos of men ( Ant. 
XVIII, 63). 15 

Philo, the Alexandrian Jew, does not use the term rabbi , but this 
is no wonder since the word was just coming into use in Palestine at his 
time, and this author writes from an Alexandrian and, in part, a Greek 


philosophical viewpoint. He uses frequently the Septuagint which, of 
course, was written at a time before the use of the term rabbi . Philo does, 
however, show understanding of the rabbi — didaskalos complex in the em- 
ployment in his writing of the word didaskalos with manthano" ( On the Change 
of Names, 270, 88; Special Laws IV, 107; cf. Special Laws I, 318), and 
also of sophistes ° (an equivalent of didaskalos ) with manthano ( Posterity 
and Exile of Cain , 150), as well as the use of huphegetes with the same 
verb ( On the Change of Names, 217). 

The Apostolic Fathers do not use the term rabbi, which would be 
expected since the New Testament church, especially after the fall of Jeru- 
salem, was developing in a way distinct from Judaism. Didaskalos does 
occur but rather infrequently, one use being a reference to "Jesus Christ 
our only didaskalos " (Ignatius, Mag . IX), and another to Polycarp as a 
didaskalos episemos , famous teacher ( Martyrdom of Polycarp. XIX, 1). 

Rabbi does not appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls material 1 ' although 
there are a number of references to rab ("much, many, great"), ° which 
word also occurs in the Old Testament Hebrew text. 

The Syriac Peshitta of the 5th century A. D. , although bearing 
late testimony, interestingly translates didaskalos by rabbi where pronom- 
inal suffixes were added. ^ 

The second Latin recension of the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus: 
The Descent of Christ Into Hell relates that three Galilean rabbis witnessed 
the ascension of Jesus, but this witness is late and proves nothing. 


The evidence for rabbi and didaskalos in archaeological inscrip- 
tions can be examined in two groups. ll First, there are those inscrip - 
tions found outside Palestine in Europe, the materials here being basically 
Greek (although sometimes Aramaic is found) until the third or fourth 
centuries A. D. when Latin became more and more prominent. ^ The 
other group consists of inscriptions found on archaeological remains in- 
side Palestine, 2 ^ these being written in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. 25 

There are some instances in this group when two of the languages 
are used together on the same stone remains." 

In connection with European Jewish inscriptions, most of which are 
located in Italy, didaskalos is to be found among those in Venosa and those 
in or near Rome, the former inscriptions being basically from the 5th or 
6th centuries A. D. , while those from Rome come from the earliest cen- 
turies of the Christian era. 2 ? 


From Venosa comes an Aramaic inscription (Frey, No. 594) with 
a questionable reading which may be translated, "Severa, daughter of Ja- 
cob. Peace"; but the expanded Greek on the same remains reads, "Here 
lies Severa, daughter of Jacob, the teacher (didaskalos);^^ m ay her sleep 
be in peace. " 

From Rome (via Portuensis) there is an inscription on a plaque of 
marble which might possibly be from the first or second centuries A.D. ° 
It reads: "Here lies Eusebis, ho didaskalos nomomathes (the teacher, 
learned in the law) " (Frey, No. 333). 

The inscriptions in Palestine regarding rabbi— didaskalos are more 
numerous and revealing. One of the latest is an Aramaic inscription from 
a sixth century synagogue at Beth Alpha in Galilee (Frey, No. 1165), which 
in a broken text includes the word rabbi . Another Aramaic inscription 
from the fifth century in the synagogue at El-Hammeh in Transjordan 
speaks of a Rabbi (rab ) Tanhum, the Levite (Frey, No. 857). 30 An Ara- 
maic inscription in a mosaic at Sepphoris in Galilee, dated in the third or 
fourth centuries A. D. 31 speaks of Rabbi Judan, the son of Tanhum (Frey, 
No. 989), and in the same area a funeral inscription also mentions the 
same Rabbi (Frey, No. 990). From Er-Rama in Galilee comes an Ara- 
maic third century grave inscription which speaks of Rabbi Eliezer, son 
of Tedeor (Theodor) (Frey, No. 979). 32 The considerable number of in- 
scriptions in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Palmyrene, found in the Jew- 
ish necropolis (dated in the first four centuries A. D. ) at Beth-Shearim in 
Galilee, have several references to rabbi both in Greek and Aramaic from 
about the third century A. D. Some of these inscriptions are mixed Ara- 
maic and Greek (e.g., Frey, Nos. 1039, 1041, 1052, 1055, 1158), although 
the majority are in Greek. The Aramaic inscriptions speak of Rabbi Isaac 
(Frey, No. 994 ) and of another rabbi whose name is not preserved in the 
incomplete inscription (Frey, No. 1055). The Greek inscriptions given by 
Frey speak of Rabbi Isakos (Nos. 995, 1033), Rabbi Paregorios (Nos. 1006, 
1041), Rabbi Joseph (No. 1052), and Samuel, the didaskalos (No. 1158). 
This last inscription in the midst of the others, which in Greek and Ara- 
maic speak of rabbi , suggests that at this date the two terms, rabbi and 
didaskalos , could be taken as equivalents. As a matter of fact, the rather 
frequent reference to rabbi in this grave complex suggests that here we 
have buried a family of scholars. 4 Among the Greek inscriptions, of in- 
terest is the spelling ribbi ^ for rabbi in two cases (Frey, Nos. 1006 and 

In coastal Palestine a Joppa Jewish necropolis yields a considerable 
quantity of inscriptions (70) ^6 t be dated in the first centuries, a good 
number appearing to be from the second and third centuries A. D. It has 
been shown that a number of the names of rabbis inscribed here are of 
those known from Jewish literature. 37 of the four inscriptions which 


contain the word rabbi , three are in Aramaic and one in Greek, the for- 
mer speaking of Rabbi Tarphon (or Tryphon) (Frey, No. 892), Than(k) - 
oum, the son of the Rabbi (Frey, No. 893), ^ 8 and Hanania, son of Rabbi 
[Laza]rus, of Alexandria (Frey, No. 895). Actually the inscription in 
which the Greek form of rabbi (rab) is to be found (Rab Juda) is in both 
Aramaic and Greek, (Frey, No. 900). 39 

At Noarah (Ain DGk) near Jericho there was found an Aramaic in- 
scription with the name of Rabbi Safrah (Frey, No. 1199), which inscrip- 
tion has been dated on the one hand as late as the fourth to sixth centuries 
A.D. (by Frey and Clermont-Ganneau) and on the other as early as the 
time of Herod the Great, (argued by Vincent). ^ 

A group of Jerusalem ossuary inscriptions, some of which refer to 
rabbi or didaskalos , are dated between 200 B. C. and A. D. 200. 4l 

The Aramaic ones refer to Rabbi Hana (Frey, No. 1218) and Ben 
Rabban 42 (Frey, No. 1285). Although the title Rabbi is not given to the 
name, reference to a Gamaliel is made in an Aramaic ossuary inscription 
(Frey, No. 1353), which Sukenik takes to be from around the time of 
Christ, ^ such a reference possibly being a reference to the Gamaliel who 
taught Paul (Acts 22 :3). 44 

Two Greek inscriptions found on ossuaries among several others 
containing both Greek and Aramaic writing, discovered on the slopes of 
the Mount of Olives (Frey, Nos. 1264-1272) seem to speak (the words are 
abbreviated or misspelled) of Theomnas, the d(i)[da](s)kalou (No. 1269) 
and of some other didaskalos not specifically identified (No. 1268). 

Another in the same group (Frey, No. 1266) is of particular in- 
terest. Sukenik dates it at the time of Christ. 4 ^ The fact that the inscrip- 
tions on this ossuary are bilingual, Theodotion in Aramaic being on one 
side and didaskalou on the other, suggests the possibility that as the Ara- 
maic Theodotion is equivalent to Greek theodotion so the Greek didaskalos 
(which does not seem to have been used in transcription into Aramaic) is 
equivalent to the Aramaic rabbi. Here is evidence that didaskalos was 
used in the New Testament period in a capacity as teacher-Rabbi. 4// 

Of uncertain date are Aramaic inscriptions found in and near Jerusa- 
lem with the words, R. Kaleb. . .R. Joseph 4 °(Frey, No. 1403, El-Aqsa) and 
Rabbi Jehuda (No. 1410, from the northwest of Jerusalem near the way to Jaffa, 
anda Greek inscription with the words rabbi Samuel (No. 1414, from unknown 
origin). Also of uncertain date are Aramaic inscriptions found at Naoua on 
the wall of a mosque which has only a possible questionable reference to 
Rabbi Judan and Rabbi Levi (Frey, No. 853); and another on a pillar before 
a synagogue at Thella ° which speaks of Rabbi Mathiah (Frey, No. 971). 


The testimony to the occurrence of both rabbi and didaskalos in 
Jewish inscriptions is consistent from the sixth century A. D. back to the 
time of Christ, both in the few references in Rome-Venosa inscriptions, 
and the more numerous ones of Palestine. In two or three instances the 
conclusion is to be drawn that rabbi and didaskalos are equivalent, not 
only in the later time of the third century A.D. at Beth Shearim (Frey, Nos. 
994, 1055, 1006, 1041, and 1052), but also at the time of Christ in Jeru- 
salem (Frey, No. 1266), this usage showing up to be the same as that de- 
scribed in the New Testament where rabbi can be interchanged with teacher. 


Having established the fact that the terms rabbi and didaskalos are 
to be found in and belong to the first century A. D. , we then observe that 
in the New Testament one of the clearest illustrations that the two terms 
are to be taken as equivalents in meaning can be seen in Matthew 23:8 
where Christ warns His disciples against their taking the title, "Rabbi, " 
because ( gar ) He alone is their didaskalos , and in John 1:38 and 20:16 
where rabbi (John 20:16, rabbouni) is interpreted as didaskalos . That the 
equation is to be taken at face value in John 1:38 is to be seen in a similar 
obvious equation between Messias and Christos in John 1:41. Sometimes, 
however, kurios and epistates are equivalents of rabbi (Mark 9:5, rabbi 
compared with Matthew 17:4, kurie, and Luke 9:33, ^ u epistata ; and Mark 
10:51, rabbouni with Luke 18:41, kurie ) and didaskalos (Mark 4:38, didas- 
kale compared with Matthew 8:25, kurie and Luke 8:24, epistata ; and Mark 
9:17, and Luke 9:38 didaskalos compared with Matthew 17:15, kurie ). 51 

In the New Testament the title "Rabbi" was one sought by religious 
leaders, evidently for its flattering effect (Matthew 23:2, 7), is used by 
disciples of their teacher (John 9:2), is used in a popular general sense by 
the general public (John 6:25), is a term of respected authority (Mark 9:5) 
of one coming from God himself (John 3:2), and is a term of endearment 
(Rabboni, John 20:16). 

In the contemporary New Testament literature the "doctors" or 
teachers ( sophistai ) were considered to be experts in the law (Josephus, 
J. W . I, 648) and they ( hoi didaskontes ) were to be respected and obeyed 
(Philo, On Dreams II, 68). In the Apostolic Fathers special attention is 
called to Christ, our only teacher ( didaskalos ) (Ignatius, Mag . IX) and to 
Polycarp, a famous teacher ( Martyrdom of Polycarp XIX, 1). 

Although inscriptions could not be expected to yield much in the 
way of doctrine^ 2 in relation to the fuller meaning attached to rabbi and 
didaskalos , they now and again reveal additional information as to the im- 
port of the concepts and to the type of person who bore the title. In the 
third and fourth centuries A.D. rabbis were honored as having helped mon- 


etarily with a building (as at Sepphoris, Frey, No. 989) such as an inn (at 
Er Rama in Galilee, Frey, No. 979). In an inscription of questionable date 
Rabbi Mathiah is commemorated for having given money for the construc- 
tion of a pillar before the synagogue at Thella (Frey, No. 971). It cannot 
be proved, however, that the persons were addressed as "rabbi" for having 
contributed such funds. One rabbi (Tanhum) is identified as being a Levite 
(Frey, No. 857), and one (Rabbi Samuel) on a Jerusalem inscription is 
called chief of the synagogue (Frey, No. 1414). On one of the early Ro- 
man inscriptions the title didaskalos is enriched with the adjective, nomo- 
mathes , learned in the law (Frey, No. 333, Rome, via Portuensis). 

In summary, it is to be observed that rabbi together with didaskalos 
began to be used for the idea of teacher -master at about the time of Christ, 
as is evidenced by the New Testament Gospels and some early archaeolo- 
gical evidence from inscriptions, and the corroborative evidence from 
Josephus and Philo in the use of equivalent terms. Then as the transition 
between the Jewish economy and Christian Church continued, the term 
rabbi no longer had a place in the latter as is evidenced by the lack of the 
use of the term rabbi in the New Testament outside of the Gospels. "^ 
Even didaskalos outside the Gospels is sparingly used in the Acts and the 
Epistles, this latter term seeming to be reserved basically for Jesus (com- 
pare also Ignatius, Mag . IX, Jesus Christ, our only didaskalos ). This is 
corroborated in the Apostolic Fathers where rabbi doesn't occur at all and 
where didaskalos is used but relatively infrequently. 

But on the other hand, as Judaism continued and developed in its own 
way, the title "Rabbi" became increasingly important in Jewish practice 
and tradition as is evidenced by Talmudic tradition. 

How much official technical significance the title rabbi— didaskalos 
carried in the New Testament period would be hard to determine on the 
basis of the literary and archaeological records. We do know that, accord- 
ing to the New Testament Gospels, the scribes and Pharisees desired the 
title (Matthew 23:2, 7), that it was used of formally unschooled teachers 54 
such as John the Baptist and Jesus by their inner circle of disciples ( ma- 
thetai ) and by the crowds, and that it carried with it a sense of respect 
and authority. Beyond that, the early evidence does not allow us to go . 



1. Joseph Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth , translated by H. Danby 
(New York: Macmillan, 1945), p. 43, footnote 93, and p. 256, 
footnote 16. 

2. Graetz, Geschichte der Juden , III, 2 5 , 759; IV 3 , n.9, pp. 399- 
400; through Klausner, op. cit. , pp. 29, 43. 

3. Erwin R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman 
Period, Vol. 1, (New York: Pantheon Books, Bollingen Series, 
XXXVII, 1953), p. 90, footnote 200. 

4. W. F. Albright, "Discoveries in Palestine and the Gospel of 
John, " in The Background of the New Testament and Its Escha- 
tology, Studies in Honor of C. H. Dodd, edited by W. D. Davies 
and D. Daube (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1964), 
pp. 157, 158. 

5. He states, "It should be added that the treatment of this term 
in G. Kittel's Theologisches Wbrterbuch Zum Neuen Testament, 
Vol. II (1935), p. 154 (and in general on pp. 150-62) needs fur- 
ther amplification archaeologically and linguistically; e.g., it 
should have been emphasized that rabbounei (John 20:16) like 
the corresponding rabbinic expression, is a caritative of rabbi 
standing for *rabboni, 'my (dear [or] little) master. '" Albright, 
op. cit. , p. 158. 

6. Dalman observes: "The interchange of u and o in pronun- 
ciation can also be seen in other cases. . . sousanna , Luke 8:3 
for shoshannah and the Palmyrenian Iakoubos for the name 
Jakob. " G. Dalmen, The Words of Jesus , authorized English 
version by D. M. Kay (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1902), p. 
324, footnote 3. 

7. MSS. D it. have kurie rabbi . 

8. I.e., "Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, didaskalos) . " 

9. Where the form is rabboni : "Rabboni, which is to say, didas- 
kalos." MSS. D latt. have rabboni . 

10. In the Tosefta it is stated: "He who has disciples and whose 
disciples again have disciples is called 'Rabbi'..." I. Broyde\ 
"Rabbi, " in The Jewish Encyclopedia , I. Singer, ed. , vol. X 
(New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1912), p. 294. 

11. Disciples of John begin to follow Jesus at this point. 

12. Life, 190, 191. 

13. Ant. XX, 213, 223. 

14. On J. W. I, 648, the Loeb note translates sophistai "doctors" 
and comments, '"Greek sophists. ' The Greek term originally 
free from any sinister associations, for a paid professor of 
rhetoric, etc. is employed by Josephus as the equivalent of the 
Jewish 'Rabbi.'" Josephus, The Jewish War in The Loeb 


Classical Library , Vol. II (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1927), 
pp. 306, 7, footnote. It is to be observed further that the term 
sophistes would be better understood by Roman audiences. 

15. It is to be observed, however, that this is a disputed passage. 

16. The term Josephus also used; see above. 

17. See Karl Georg Kuhn, ed. , Konkordanz zu den Qumrantexten 
(Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1960). 

18. Francis Brown, S.R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew 
and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (New York: Houghton 
Mifflin and Co. , 1907), "rab. " 

19. F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments , rev. edition (West- 
wood, N.J. : Fleming H. Revell, 1963), pp. 194, 5. 

20. G. Dalman, The Words of Jesus, authorized English version by 
D.M. Kay (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1902), p. 338. 

21. E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, The Gospels , vol. 1, 
ed. by W. Schneemelcher, tr. by R. McL. Wilson (London: 
Lutterworth Press, 1963), pp. 478,9; also Actas de Pilato , red. 
latina B, I, 1, 5, in Los Evangelios Apocrifos, ed. by Aurelio 
de Santos Otero, 2nd edition (Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores 
Cristianos, 1963), pp. 455-458. 

22. Following the division given by P. J. -B. Frey, Corpus Inscrip- 
tionum Judaicarum , vol. I, Europe; vol. II, Asia-Africa (Rome: 
Pontificio Instituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 1936 (vol. I), 1952 
(vol. II). 

23. "Outside Palestine the names and little inscriptions are pre- 
dominantly in Greek till the third or fourth centuries, then in 
Latin." E.R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman 
Period , vol. 12 (New York: Pantheon Books, Bollingen Series 
XXXVII, 1965), p. 51. 

24. According to Frey's second volume on Asia-Africa ( op. cit. ), 
occurrences of Rabbi — didaskalos in that volume are to be found 
only on Palestinian inscriptions. 

25. Gundry notes that from archaeological data "proof now exists 
that all three languages in question - Hebrew, Aramaic, and 
Greek - were commonly used by Jews in first century Pales- 
tine." R.H. Gundry, The Use of the Old Testament in St. Mat- 
thew's Gospel (Leiden: E.J. Grill, 1967), p. 175. 

26. Compare Gundry, op. cit . , p. 176. 

27. For the inscriptions of Venosa, dating from the sixth century 
after Christ, still present us with substantially the same picture 
as those of Rome, the oldest of which probably belong to one of 
the earliest centuries of our era." Emil Schlirer, A History of 
the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, Second Division, 
tr. S. Taylor and P. Christie, vol, II (New York: Chas. Scrib- 
ner's Sons, 1891), p. 247. 

28. Thegater Iakob didaskalou . 


29. Frey says that "the catacomb was certainly now in use in the 
first century; but the second and third centuries was the period 
of greatest activity." Frey, op. cit. ; vol. 1, p. 211. 

30. See Goodenough, op. cit. , vol. 1, p. 241. 

31. See M. Avi-Yonah, "Mosaic Pavements in Palestine," Quarterly 
of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine, London , II (1932), 
p. 178; III (1933), p. 40. " " 

32. Compare also Goodenough, op. cit . , vol. 1, p. 213; and Avi- 
Yonah, Q.D.A.P. X (1942), plate XXVI, 8, and p. 131. 

33. M. Schwabe in his work on Greek inscriptions found at Beth- 
Shearim in the fifth excavation season of 1953 suggests a date 
of the third or the first half of the fourth century A. D. for 
these inscriptions. Israel Exploration Journal, IV (1954), p. 260. 

34. Compare Goodenough, op. cit. , vol. 1, p. 90. 

35. Compare the remarks of Dalman: "In the time of Jesus rabbin 
had not yet become ribbfln . " Dalman, op. cit. , p. 324, foot- 
note 3. 

36. Frey, op. cit. , vol. 1, p. 118. 

37. Ibid . , p. 119. 

38. Frey says in a note that " biribi is a contraction for bir ribi 
(Jerusalem dialect), son of Rabbi, with which they would honor 
the doctors of the law." Frey, op. cit . , vol. 2, p. 121. 

39. "The title 'Rab' is Babylonian and that of 'Rabbi' is Palestini- 
an. " I. Broyde, "Rabbi" in The Jewish Encyclopedia , I. Sin- 
ger, editor, vol. X, (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1912), 
Rabbi, p. 294. 

40. While granting some problems regarding the paleography of the 
inscription, Vincent argues epigraphically and archaeologically 
for a date not later than the time of Herod, the Great, seeing 
in the Jordan Valley a blend of Jewish settlers (possibly the 
Idumeans) and free artistic energy in which animals and even 
the human figure are portrayed in architecture which fits in 
with this time. L. H. Vincent, Revue Biblique , XXVIII (1919), 
p. 558; S. A. Cook, "The 'Holy Place' of 'Ain Dfik, '" Palestine 
Exploration Fund , Quarterly Statement (1920), pp. 86, 87. 

41. Frey, op. cit . , vol. 2, p. 245. 

42. Compare Dalman's remarks, "The Targumic mode of using rib- 
bftn is recalled in Mark 10:51, John 20:16, by the term addressed 
to Jesus, rabbounei (another reading, rabboni; D Mark, rabbei; 
John rabbonei. . . . ) Dalman, op. cit. , p. 324. Charles in a note 
on Pirke Aboth 1:16 says that Rabban was a title first used for 
Gamaliel to indicate his being the head of the house of Hillel. 
R.H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testa- 
ment, vol. 2 (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1913), p. 686. 

43. See Frey, op, cit. , vol. 2, p. 305, who refers for this inscrip- 
tion to Sukenik, JftidisjcJiejGj^^^ 1931. 


44. It is interesting that in Acts 5:34 Gamaliel is called nomodidas- 
kalos timios panti toi laoi. v ? 

45. The word there is somewhat deformed A£CA£ K>AAAOYj which 
Frey readily recognized as didaskalou . Frey, op. cit. , vol. 2, 
p. 267,8. 

46. Sukenik, Judische Gra'ber Jerusalems um Christi Geburt (1931), 
pp. 17f. , through Frey, op. cit. , vol. 2, p. 266. 

47. Frey takes didaskalos in Nos. 1266 and 1269 as equivalent to 
rabbi . Frey, op. cit. , vol. 2, pp. 267, 8. See also Albright, 
op. cit. , p. 158. 

48. The text here is uncertain. 

49. See Josephus. J. W. , III, 3, 1 for the location of this place. 

50. Luke 9:33. P 45 has didaskale . 

51. See Dalman's discussion, op. cit . , pp. 327, 328. 

52. Compare Goodenough, op. cit. , vol. 12 (1965), p. 53. 

53. Compare the fading use in the New Testament of another Jewish 
religious term, synagogue, as the New Testament ekklesia be- 
comes dominant. 

54. Goodenough says, "the word was very casually used in early 
Christian circles with no reference to 'scholarship' of any 
kind...." Op. cit . , vol. 1, p. 90. 



A recurring problem in our day is that of the Isaianic authorship 
of the entire book of Isaiah. The scope of this problem is enormous since 
Christ's own integrity is at stake in the question. Christ quotes from 
every portion of Isaiah's book and either assumes or states Isaianic author- 
ship in each case. Therefore, to say that Isaiah is not the sole author of 
the book bearing his name is to undermine not only written revelation but 
also the personal revelation by God to us through His Son. In yet another 
sense the scope of this problem is awesome; so much written material is 
available on the subject. With respect to "Deutero-Isaiah" the problem 
concerning authorship centers about the geographical background, and 
therefore the chronological placement of chapters 40-66. To discuss this 
milieu of chapters 40-66 goes very far beyond the scope of this paper. But 
there is one particularly knotty problem which to a large measure will 
dictate the interpretation one gives to the background of Deutero-Isaiah. 
And that problem is the concern of this paper: The "Cyrus" notations of 
Deutero-Isaiah. In turn this paper will discuss the point of tension in the 
problem, several solutions that have been proposed by destructive criti- 
cism, and finally a palatable solution of the problem. 


Critical attacks upon Scripture have been numerous. And the at- 
tacks are no longer simply made by those who have some claim upon scho- 
larship. Nor are the attacks being confined to a few select places of apos- 
tasy; the attacks are now being waged through a host of Sunday school ma- 
terials that have repercussions among those of the grass-roots level of 
Protestantism. A brief glance through the Sunday school materials of the 
main line denominations of America will support such an assertion. 

Ronald E. Manahan holds the B.A. degree from Shelton College, and the 
Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He is pre- 
sently pursuing the Master of Theology degree in Old Testament at Grace 
Theological Seminary. 



It is, of course, true that the Word of God has been attacked from 
all sides in the centuries of the Church's existence. Yet the present attack 
is more subtle than the attacks of the past. For one thing, many of the 
attacks are coming from within the ranks of the Protescant denominations. 
They are coming from those who purport to be theologians, those who sup- 
posedly are equipped to interpret Scripture. Another interesting fact about 
the present-day attack is that several assumptions are made with respect 
to Scripture which result in the undermining of what Scripture claims to 
be. One of these assumptions is that the empirical method has shown con- 
clusively that miracles are impossible, for miracles defy the empirical 
method, therefore, they are impossible. Another assumption is that the 
critical approach to the study of Scripture, especially of the Old Testa- 
ment, is the only intellectually acceptable approach of study. It therefore 
follows that critics who make such assumptions wish to supplant the or- 
thodox position of the inspiration of Scripture with a notion more compa- 
tible with their own presuppositions. That notion has generally been some 
form dictated by the evolutionary approach to history and religion. The 
basic proposition of this notion is that the religion of mankind has evolved 
over the centuries developing from the most primitive forms of mythology, 
so called religion, to a more and more sophisticated, rationalized approach 
to God. This view believes that all the documents from the very earliest 
times reflect what people really thought about God. But because the more 
primitive peoples were unenlightened their conceptions of God were wrong. 

To be sure, the variations of this evolutionary approach of the study 
of the Old Testament text have been numerous. ■*■ But in all of these vari- 
ations there was a common belief: The Hegelian approach to history was 
the only sound approach. The view which Hegel took of history was this: 
"The only idea which philosophy brings with it [that is, to the contempla- 
tion of history] is the simple idea of reason, that reason dominates the 
world and that world-history is thus a rational process. "2 it is this ima- 
gination that world-history is a rational process that has so characterized 
the approach of the critics. As they approached the study of the Old Test- 
ament they assumed that all of ancient history must bow before the throne 
of reason. Therefore, when ancient documents asserted facts which would 
not bow before the throne of reason, the ancient documents, rather than 
reason, were questioned. But somehow the critics had to account for the 
record of the historical documents. Therefore, they posited theories of 
composition for the Old Testament, the end results of which would corro- 
borate their initial assumptions. 

Once the critics imagined that all the historical process would sub- 
mit to their rationalization, they had immediately made a most drastic as- 
sumption: History would thus contain nothing of the supernatural. For 
their rationalizing method could neither account for a transcendent God 
who was also immanent nor recognize Him as such. All of this is not to 


say that all critics are avowed disbelievers in the supernatural, but as 
Edward Young points out: "It must be confessed that among the advocates 
of recent critical theories the greater number do reject the working of 
God in any adequate sense in Israel's history. "^ Once the critic has ruled 
out the possibility of the supernatural occurring in history he has posi- 
tioned himself against the self -attestation of the Scriptural record. 

The preceding discussion will serve to establish more clearly ex- 
actly what the point of tension is with respect to the mentions of Cyrus in 
the text of Isaiah. While the mentions of Cyrus in the text of Isaiah might 
seem to some very insignificant, they are in fact extremely crucial to the 
authorship of the Book of Isaiah and, therefore, to the integrity of the New 
Testament. The critics have long contended that Isaiah 40-66 are quite 
obviously not reflective of a Palestinian milieu. Rather, these chapters 
are believed to reflect an exilic milieu, a Babylonian background. If this 
assessment of the critic be right, then quite certainly Isaiah could not 
have written chapters 40-66 since he lived many years before the Babylo- 
nian exile. The Seventh-day Adventist Commentary puts the whole pro- 
blem nicely into focus: 

One of the chief arguments of these critics for a compo- 
site authorship of Isaiah is that chs. 40-66 appear to 
them to be written, not from the standpoint of an author 
living at the close of the 8th century B. C. but from that 
of one who lived near the close of the Babylonian captiv- 
ity. The mention of Cyrus by name (chs. 44:28; 45:1) is 
regarded by them as conclusive evidence that these chap- 
ters were written during the time of Cyrus, that is, in 
the second half of the 6th century B. C.^ 

It is this Babylonian background, which is suggested by the naming of 
Cyrus, that forms the greatest point of tension between conservatives and 
the critics. J. Barton Payne quotes Edward J. Young as estimating the 
importance of the point this way: "The most formidable argument which 
must be faced by the defenders of the unity of the book is the one which 
maintains that the background of chapters 40-66 is Babylonian and not that 
of the eighth century B. C. "5 

At this point one might be prone to think that Babylonian notations 
in Deutero- Isaiah must, indeed, be many in number. But the real situa- 
tion is to the contrary, for these notations of a specific nature are actually 
very few in number. Even C. C. Torrey maintained "that if the five or so 
references to Babylon and Cyrus could be eliminated as later insertions, 
almost all of chapters 40-66 could then be assigned to a Palestinian 
milieu. "° Thus the specific notations are indeed very, very few. Why is 
it then that the critics are so ready to see "Deutero-Isaiah"as Babylonian? 


It is clearly not because the background of these chapters is replete with 
specific Babylonian notations. The answer to this question is to be found 
in the writings of the critics. For example, Robert H. Pfeiffer in his intro- 
duction comments in this sarcastic fashion on the two Cyrus notations: 
"Of course this anachronism offers no difficulty to those who believe that 
God predicted through Isaiah's pen what was to happen two centuries later."? 
It is, then, quite clear from Pfeiffer's own words that the thing which makes 
the mentions of Babylon and Cyrus so repulsive to the critic is that if the 
single authorship of Isaiah be maintained, then clearly the Book of Isaiah 
contains predictive prophecy. And to admit to the existence of predictive 
prophecy is to admit to supernatural intervention in history. But as al- 
ready pointed out the critic because of his own assumptions could not find 
such intervention in the historical process. Thus he refuses to allow such 
and therefore must posit some alternative explanation. 

The real point of tension then in the Cyrus notations is that con- 
servatives are most willing to allow for divine intervention in history, 
while the critics will not allow such intervention. Hence, the conserva- 
tive finds predictive prophecy quite acceptable. But the critic rejects the 
possibility of predictive prophecy. He claims all prophecies were written 
down after the fact. Having established the particular point of tension, 
one can now better study the several details of this problem. 


The concern of this section shall be to look very briefly at several 
solutions which have been proposed to answer the problem under consider- 
ation. Obviously there exists a polarity among all the solutions proposed. 
Either one can accept the readings of Cyrus in the Isaianic text or he can 
reject them. If one chooses to accept the readings of Cyrus the only pos- 
sible nuances of positions in this acceptance would be the particular ma- 
terial one might choose to support his view. However, if one should de- 
cide to reject the readings of Cyrus in the text, he is then placing himself 
open to many variations of interpretation. And he may call to his "support" 
a host of different materials. And it is indeed true that those who have 
rejected the readings of Cyrus in the text have taken virtually every posi- 
tion possible. The thrust of this section, then, shall be to look at several 
of the various positions that have been taken by those who have rejected 
the readings of Cyrus in the Isaianic text. 

To be sure, some say that "Cyrus" is actually the reading in the 
text but certainly not as coming from the pen of Isaiah. Many are willing 
to concede that these two readings of "Cyrus" are quite acceptable if it is 
also admitted that a "Deutero- Isaiah" penned chapters 40-66. The history 
of criticism of the entire book of Isaiah is interesting for it shows so clearly 
the direction that the critic will take and the end result of his work. And 


this applies directly to the critics' claims about the Cyrus notations. As 
early as 1167 IbnEzra cast some doubt on the Isaianic authorship of chap- 
ters 40-66 in what Pfeiffer refers to as "carefully veiled language. "8 But 
such doubt was indeed very rare, for "until the period of the beginning of 
modern destructive criticism in the last half of the eighteenth century, the 
traditional belief in the Isaianic authorship of the entire book was practi- 
cally universally held and unchallenged."" This modern period of destruc- 
tive criticism began perhaps with Koppe who as early as 1780 doubted the 
genuineness of chapter 50. 10 But the first mighty blow was to fall in 1775 
when J. C. Doederlein in his commentary on Isaiah suspected the genuine- 
ness of chapters 40-66. U Since that time, says the critic Pfeiffer, "it is 
generally recognized that it [Isaiah] comprises two distinct works. " 12 

From this point onward the critics went to work. Rosenmueller, 
Eichhorn, Gesenius, and Ewald were leaders in the movement to find por- 
tions of the Book of Isaiah that were not really Isaianic. 13 This critical 
approach proceeded until "by the middle of the 19th century some 37 or 38 
chapters were rejected as no part of Isaiah's actual writings. " 14 Even 
Franz Delitzsch capitulated to the critical approach around 1880. 15 But 
the division of a "Proto- Isaiah" and "Deutero- Isaiah" was not enough, for 
even "Deutero-Isaiah" began to disintegrate. Just before the turn of the 
20th century men began to see a "Trito-Isaiah" in chapters 56-66. But the 
fragmentation did not stop there. As time passed the fragmentation mul- 
tiplied until it seems to have reached a supreme expression in the work of 
Robert Kennett in his book, The Composition of the Book of Isaiah. After 
apparently detailed study of chapters 40-66 Kennett is able to say: 

Unfortunately the literary criticism of these chapters 
shows that they are extraordinarily complex, and it is' 
no easy matter, if indeed it is possible, to sort out the 
various passages according to their several authors. 
Nowhere has the hand of the editor done such drastic 
work, and it is much easier to analyze than to recon- 
struct. Many indeed be loth to believe that chapters of 
which the present effort is so beautiful can be a mere 
mosaic of fragments. The story of the Flood, however, 
in the book of Genesis is an illustration of the manner in 
which original documents could be rent asunder and re- 
combined. 1° 

Quite clearly Kennett sees a great deal of fragmentation in the authorship 
of Isaiah. But just how much fragmentation is there according to Kennett? 
George Robinson, writing in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia , 
analyzes the above -mentioned work of Kennett, and finds this fragmentation: 


(a) all of chs. 3, 5, 6, 7, 20 and 31, and large portions 
ofchs. 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, 14, 17, 22 and 23, maybe 
assigned to Isaiah, the son of Amoz; (b) all of chs. 13, 
40 and 47, and large portions of chs. 14, 21, 41, 43, 
44, 45, 46 and 48 may be assigned to the time of Cyrus; 
(c) all of chs. 15, 36, 37 and 39, and portions of chs. 
16 and 38, may be assigned to the period between Neb- 
uchadnezzar and Alexander the Great, but cannot be 
dated precisely; (d) the passage 23:1-14 may be assigned 
to the time of Alexander the Great; (e) all of chs. 11, 
12, 19, 24-27, 29, 30, 32-35, 42, 49-66, and portions 
ofchs. 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 23, 41, 44, 45, 48 
may be assigned to the 2d. cent. B.C. (167-140 B. C. ) 17 

On and on goes the process of fragmentation. And this has been the history 
of criticism in its destructive sense, and it is apparently the only route 
criticism can take as it departs from a position of complete inspiration of 
the text. 

Now this process of historical fragmentation has, of course, had 
its effect upon the interpretations of the Cyrus notations. As well, it helps 
explain, partially at least, the many nuances of interpretation that have 
been taken with respect to the problem. Now the question is: How have 
different men handled these two Cyrus notations (44:28; 45:1)? 

Generally speaking there have been two approaches taken to explain 
the naming of Cyrus in the text of Isaiah. One of these two approaches 
has been to regard the reading l e koresh as containing radicals which are 
different from those radicals of the original text. Several of the critics 
have imagined that somehow the radicals in the Hebrew text are not the 
right ones. Wordsworth, for example, interpreted l e koresh as really 
being le haresh ; hence, the Hebrew radical waw was dropped and the 
holem was changed to a qames and the segol to a sere; thus the text would 
read "the crushed. " ^ By this understanding Wordsworth saw the one 
referred to here as "the crushed one, " meaning Hezekiah. Later, how- 
ever, he saw phronein in the LXX and "suggested that both readings re- 
sulted from the confusion in the mind of a scribe about 540 B.C., who 
thought that Isaiah ought to have written l e khoresh r"6 c i instead of a prob- 
able lakh w e rash d e< T ro^ addressed to Jerusalem. "^ 

Another who has made a similar approach to that of Wordsworth 
was Thirtle. He held that the original radicals were l e hor e s h not 
l£kjores_h . 20 Therefore, the original text made a reference not to Cyrus 
but to one who was an "engraver, cutter, artifacer, or craftsman. "21 
He sees, therefore, that one radical supplants two. 


But it is plain to see that men such as these do not have a particu- 
larly great reverence for the radicals of the Hebrew text. Once one is 
willing to concede that it is possible that the radicals have been tampered 
with, the question becomes not one of shall one change the text but one of 
where shall one change the text. Clearly the limiting factor in their chang- 
ing the text is their own assumption of the background of the text. 

But it must also be added that whether or not l e koresh is the tex- 
tual reading, the context surrounding 44:28 and 45:1 must be handled, for 
it certainly points to Cyrus. For example, in comparing Isa. 41:2 and 25 
is the revelation that this political leader of whom Isaiah speaks is one 
who would come from the east and would invade from the north. This is 
exactly what Cyrus did. Again look at Isa. 46:10-11 where a similar re- 
ference to Cyrus is made. And most assuredly Isa. 45:13 is a very pointed 
reference to Cyrus, for he it was who built "my city, and he shall let go 
my captives, not for price nor reward. " And again the words of Isa. 48: 
14-15 are too pointed a reference to Cyrus to be overlooked. The point to 
be raised is that not only the actual mentions of Cyrus are prophetic but 
so are the other passages concerning him. Therefore, the critic will not 
help himself by allowing a change of radicals until he first has done some- 
thing about the other pointed prophecies of Isaiah in which the name of 
Cyrus is omitted. 

The second approach to the Cyrus notations is that which imagines 
that the name is an interpolation or a gloss added to the text to help inter- 
pret it. Nagelsbach, who wrote in Lange's Commentaries , maintained this 
position of interpolation. He was willing to grant that in 

xliv. 28 another word stood in the place of l e koresh and 
that [in] xlv. 1 the same word was either simply inter- 
polated (which the construction allows), or was substi- 
tuted for another word. We would need then, of course, 
to grant also that the words bismeka * a kann e ka (xlv. 4), 
which manifestly presuppose the mention of the name, 
were inserted by the interpolator. 22 

Exactly why it is that this author is so willing to concede to such an exten- 
sive process of interpolation in order to rid the text of Cyrus' name is not 
certain. It is not that he rejects the possibility of predictive prophecy. 
He concedes: 

On the other hand the great mass of xl-lxvi are so un- 
mistakably genuine prophecy; in fact the crown of all Old 
Testament prophecy, that we can ascribe them to no 
other than to the king among the prophets, to Isaiah. If 
now single passages in the last chapters bear undoubted 


marks of originating in the exile, then they must be later 
additions to the original writing of Isaiah. 23 

But how is one to decide exactly which passages "bear undoubted marks of 
originating in the exile?" Evidently for this author the specificity of the 
prophecy determines whether it is exilic. If God is able to reveal the fu- 
ture, of what consequence to His ability are the details of that future? 
There are, indeed, other details in Scripture prophesied long before they 
occurred. For example the naming of Josiah three centuries before he 
was born (I Kings 13:lf. ) and the name of Bethlehem by Micah (Micah 5:2). 

However, the understanding of interpolations and glosses as pos- 
sible solutions to the problem of the Cyrus notations has not been limited 
to the segment of liberal theologians (as already indicated by the capitula- 
tion of Delitzsch). Those who would, I am certain, classify themselves 
in the class of conservative theologians have somehow believed that inter- 
polation as a possible solution to the notations of Cyrus eases the problem 
for them. N. H. Ridderbos, professor of Old Testament at Free Univer- 
sity, Amsterdam, admits that Isaiah 40-66 may have what he refers to as 
an "Isaianic core. "24 By this he means that Deutero-Isaiah, while having 
certain portions which clearly are from the hand of Isaiah, contains por- 
tions which, though not penned by Isaiah, are thematically consistent with 
Isaianic teaching. He does not oppose the notion that the utterances of 
prophets were handed down orally by a circle of Isaiah's disciples. 25 As 
the generations of his disciples passed, the kernels of thought directly 
from the hands of Isaiah were changed and adapted to meet the changing 
situations of the succeeding generations of people. 

And sorry to say, even R. K. Harrison in his formidable intro- 
duction capitulates to the possibility of scribal glosses occurring in Isaiah 
44:28 and 45:1. Harrison claims that there are three possible interpreta- 
tions of the naming of Cyrus. 26 Two of these three possible interpreta- 
tions are quite obvious. They are the polarities already suggested: that 
of seeing Isaiah 40-66 as exilic and that of letting the text read as we have 
it, that is with the specific mentioning of Cyrus. Yet Harrison takes a 
third approach to the problem. He says: 

A third approach to the problem, and one which is fa- 
vored by the present writer, is to regard the references 
to Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1 as constituting explan- 
atory glosses imposed upon the original text by a post- 
exilic copyist. It is of some significance that these two 
occurrences are the only instances in Isaiah where Cyrus 
is actually mentioned by name, and since they are found 
in such close proximity it seems most probable that they 


comprise scribal additions inserted in order to explain 
what was thought to be the real significance of the pro- 
phecy. • 


While Harrison is not dogmatic about his position, he does find some com- 
fort in knowing that there may well be a palatable third alternative. It is 
interesting that Harrison never really gives a valid reason for refusing to 
accept the reading of Cyrus as coming from the pen of Isaiah. Further, 
he does suggest that the close proximity of the two mentions of Cyrus 
would tend to corroborate the idea of scribal glosses. Yet it is interesting 
that especially in the first mention of Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28) the context 
would argue for the necessary inclusion of the name of Cyrus. And it is 
this inclusion of the name that makes the prophecy so remarkable. Allis' 
analysis of Isaiah 44:24-28 still stands as a formidable objection to the 
position that Harrison takes. Says Allis: 

The most striking and significant features of the poem 
favor the view that while the utterance was significant in 
and of itself, it was chiefly significant in view of the ex- 
ceptional circumstance under which it was spoken, i.e. 
in view of its early date. The chronological arrangement 
of the poem assigns the Restoration and Cyrus to the fu- 
ture. The perspective of the poem, together with the 
abrupt change of person in the 2d strophe, argues that 
the future is a remote future. And finally the carefully 
constructed double climax attaches a significance to the 
definiteness of the utterance which is most easily ac- 
counted for if this future was so remote that a definite 
disclosure concerning it would be of extraordinary im- 
portance. ™ 

The point of Allis is well taken and must be answered by all who would de- 
lete the name of Cyrus from the text. 

Having now looked at several alternative solutions that various men 
have forwarded, what alternative solution may one find? 


The proposal to be suggested here is one already mentioned and 
alluded to in previous sections of this paper. And it is one which admits 
a crass honesty with the text and one which most definitely allows for the 
supernatural control of history and therefore the actuality of predictive 


First, it is worth noting that there is no evidence in the two Dead 
Sea scrolls containing Isaiah that chapters 1-39 ever existed independently 
of chapters 40-66.29 it i S admitted, of course, that these documents are 
not from the exilic period in date, but they do reflect a very definite tex- 
tual tradition. Second, "writing about 180 B. C. , the author of the book of 
Ecclesiasticus (ch. 48:23-28), Jesus ben Sirach, credited various sections 
of the book of Isaiah to the prophet whose name it bears. "30 Third, there 
are the numerous attestations to the single authorship of the book by Christ 
himself. For example, the following passages of Isaiah are quoted or al- 
luded to by Christ and in each case Isaianic authorship is either stated or 
implied: Isaiah 56:lf. (Matthew 5:3); Isaiah 42:1-4 and 41 :8f. (Matthew 
12:17f. ); Isaiah 56:7 (Matthew 21:13); Isaiah 66:24 (Mark 9:48); and Isaiah 
61:1-2 (Luke 4:17-21). 

But more decisive to this particular problem, though no more cru- 
cial perhaps, is the context in which the two mentions of Cyrus occur. The 
principal thrust of the context surrounding chapters 44 and 45 is that Jeho- 
vah God is infinitely more worthy and powerful than any idols of men. Over 
and over again are found sarcastic taunts of pagan idols (somehow remin- 
iscent of Dagon and his inability to help himself). Note as an example the 
taunting words of Isaiah 40:18-21: 

To whom, then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will 
ye compare unto him? The workman melteth and casteth 
an image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, 
and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished 
that he hath no oblation, choosethatree that will not rot; 
he seeketh a skillful workman to prepare a carved image, 
that shall not be moved. Have ye not known?. . . 

And along with the taunting sarcasm is a full-blown acknowledgement of 
God's foreknowledge. Again and again the point is made that while dumb 
idols know nothing nor say nothing about the future, the true God does: 

The fact, however, that Isaiah mentions Cyrus is not an 
argument in favor of a late date for the book, but rather 
an evidence of the wisdom and foreknowledge of God. 
Throughout the book there are predictions concerning 
the future. . . . Indeed, Isaiah sets forth God's foreknow- 
ledge as eloquent testimony to his wisdom and power 
(chs. 41:21-23; 42:9; 43:9; 44:7, 8; 45:11, 21; 46:9, 10; 
48:3, 5-8). 31 

And if the God of Israel has this particular ability, that of fore- 
knowledge, the prophecy including the specific naming of Cyrus is not so 
unbelievable. In fact it is in this very sort of context that one would expect 


to find such a prophecy. The prophecy enriches to a superlative degree 
the infinite ability of the true God. And it is this basic proposition that 
Isaiah is asserting in his prophecy. On the other hand it is difficult to see 
what would have been accomplished by an exilic writer including the name 
of Cyrus, for in that case the name would be only an historical notation. 
And if this were the case, it would seem like an exilic writer would have 
included many more detailed descriptions of Babylon if he would want his 
historiography to have credibility. Birks seems to have this line of rea- 
soning in mind when he says that if Isaiah 40-66 were exilic, it is strange 
that so little is said of exilic contemporaries (names and person). 32 ft [ s 
also interesting that even the critics concede that Isaiah 40-66 clearly in- 
dicates God's power to control men. 33 

A last argument in support of the acceptance of the reading of Cyrus 
in the text has already been suggested in the words of Oswald T. Allis. J. 
Barton Payne gives an excellent analysis of the Isaiah 44:24 - 45:8 passage, 
showing that the failure to mention the name of Cyrus would destroy the 
obvious procedural tendency of Isaiah in the passage. 34 Further, against 
the view that Isaiah would not have included the name of Cyrus in the pas- 
sage since the text calls him "my servant" (and Cyrus was the avowed 
worshipper of Marduk), it may be said that God's control of a man who did 
not worship Him makes the power of God all the more vivid. It now re- 
mains for a concise conclusion to be drawn to this problem. 


The only conclusion which seems appropriate for one who reverences 
the text of Scripture is to assume that the reading of Cyrus in the text is 
the only acceptable reading. Further, it is certain that the simpler under- 
standing of the text is that Isaiah did, indeed, write the name of Cyrus. 
Any other interpretation of the text must struggle against the overwhelm- 
ing evidence of the context. It is, therefore, as Pfeiffer put it: "Of course 
this anachronism offers no difficulty to those who believe that God pre- 
dicted through Isaiah's pen what was to happen two centuries later. "35 


1. M. Unger, An Introductory Guide to the Old Testament (Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964), pp. 243-247. 

2. Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy (Garden City, N.Y.: 
Image Books, 1965), vol. 7, p. 262. 

3. The Infallible Word (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed 
Publishing Co. , 1946), pp. 74-75. 


4. Francis Nicholl, Seventh-day Adventist Commentary: Isaiah - 
Malachi (Washington, D. C: Review and Herald Publishing As- 
sociation, 1955), p. 84. 

5. J. B. Payne, "Eighth Century Israelitish Background of Isaiah 
40-66, " Westminster Theological Journal , vol. xxix, no. 2 
(May, 1967), p. 179. 

6. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: 
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1969), p. 794. 

7. R. H. Pfeiffer, Introduction to the Old Testament (New York: 
Harper and Bros., 1941), p. 415. 

8. Ibid. 

9. M. Unger, op. cit. , p. 315. 

l0. James Orr (ed.), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand 
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1939), vol. Ill, 
p. 1504. 

R. H. Pfeiffer, op. cit. , p. 415. 

James Orr (ed.), op. cit. , p. 1504. 

Robert Kennett, The Composition of the Book of Isaiah (London: 
Oxford University Press, 1910), p. 30. 
James Orr (ed.), op. cit . , p. 1504. 
R. K. Harrison, op. cit . , p. 794. 
Ibid. , p. 795. 

James Orr (ed.), op. cit . , p. 1507. 

Alexander Harkavy, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary (New York: 
Hebrew Publishing Col, 1914), p. 204. 

J. P. Lange, Lange's Commentaries : Isaiah (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1878), p. 16. The Hebrew radicals in the 
quotation have been transcribed. 
Ibid. , p. 17. 

J. D. Douglas, New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. 
Eerdmans Publishing Co. , 1962), p. 573. 

R. K. Harrison, op. cit ., pp. 793-795. 
Ibid. , p. 794. 

James Orr (ed.), op. cit . , 1507. 
Francis Nicholl, op. cit . , p. 85. 

T. Birks, The Book of Isaiah (London: Rivingtons, 1871), p. 350. 
George Buttrick, The Interpreter's Bible : Ecclesiastes - Jeremiah 
(New York: Abingdon Press, 1956), pp. 520-521. 
J. B. Payne, op. cit ., pp. 184f. 
R. H. Pfeiffer, op. cit., p. 415. 



Jehoshaphat had a difficult time grasping the lessons that God want- 
ed to teach him in the area of political allegiances with unbelieving nations, 
especially with "sister -nation" Israel to the north. But in spite of his fail- 
ure to grasp this principle of God's, Jehoshaphat was honored by God for 
the righteous desires of his heart. 

Thus we find him in the third chapter of the book of II Kings in 
league once again with ungodly Jehoram, and also with the King of Edom. 
Although He almost allowed these allied forces to perish in the desert, 
God still could not refrain from honoring the faith and life of Jehoshaphat: 

And Elisha said (to Jehoram), As the Lord of hosts liveth, 
before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard 
the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not 
look toward thee, nor see thee (II Kings 3:14). 

Elisha then went on to prophesy of the great defeat that would soon be vis- 
ited by God upon the rebellious Moabites at their very hands. 

We are not surprised when reading on through the chapter to see 
Jehovah begin to fulfill His word through His prophet Elisha. He caused 
the Moabites to mistake the abundant water provided for the Allies for 
blood flowing freely in the sunshine of early dawn, and to rush forth hast- 
ily in search of easy spoil. These eager warriors had their hopes spoiled 
in a devastating ambush that virtually annihilated their forces. Some were 
able to retreat and regroup in a nearby city, but even here it seemed only 
a matter of time before these bastions would also fall before the vicious 
allies who were felling all the trees in the land, stopping up the wells of 
water, and beating down all of the cities. Thus Mesha, King of Moab, 
mustered the strength he had left, seven hundred men, and thrust them 
forth on a mission of penetrating and breaking the enemy lines where the 

King of Edom had his forces deployed. 

George M. Harton holds the A.B. degree from Princeton University, and 
the Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. After 
serving as assistant pastor of the Northgate Bible Baptist Church in Pitts- 
burgh, Pa. , he is presently associated with Operation Mobilization. 



When this "Battle of the Bulge" tactic failed, we expect to read of 
the total massacre of the remaining brash Moabites. But instead we find 
Moab with still one last desperation tactic, as we read: 

Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in 
his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the 
wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: 
and they departed from him, and returned to their own 
land (II Kings 3:27). 

Our shock at the sacrifice by Mesha of his eldest son is surpassed only by 
our surprise at the completion of the Biblical account of this military oper- 
ation. We had been witnessing a dramatic, climactic fulfillment of prophecy, 
when we are unexpectedly left hanging in mid-air. Israel leaves the battle- 
field and leaves us with our mouths hanging wide open. 

Why did the conflict end in this manner? What could the meaning 
of this verse be? The unfulfilled expectations and the ambiguous phrases 
of the verse leave us perplexed. The element of human sacrifice to those 
of us who have come into a new relationship with God by means of appro- 
priating the benefits to ourselves of the voluntary, self-sacrifice of Jesus 
Christ adds further fascination and motivation to our wondering minds. 

This paper will attempt to clarify some of these questions by exam- 
ining the two leading problems in II Kings 3:27. The first problem is the 
identification of the meaning of Mesha 's sacrifice and the second is the 
identification of the meaning of Israel's response to this sacrifice. 


Obviously, the sacrifice of his eldest son was an act of despera- 
tion, but beyond this fact, what was Mesha's motive for doing so? What 
could he have hoped to accomplish? 

Some find that the best way to account for this gruesome act is to 
plead temporary insanity on the part of the defendant in a manner similar 
to the defense of Sirhan Sirhan today: 

In his madness he took his eldest son that should have 
reigned in his stead, and flung him for a burnt offering 
upon the wall. * 

Certainly such an explanation strikes home as being within the realm of 
possibility, especially as we hear repeatedly that hospitals are full of peo- 
ple with mental and emotional collapses over far lesser things. Neverthe- 
less, such an explanation should be reserved for those who have failed to make 
any rational explanation fit the facts, for it is not a very satisfying answer. 


Another desperate, though ancient, solution to the problem is the 
suggestion that Mesha sacrificed, not his own son, but the son of the King 
of Edom. The door to such a view was opened by the Septuagint which 
reads ton huion autou ("his son") instead of ton huion heautou ("his own 
son"), and Fathers such as Theodoret walked through the door. l The son 
could well have been taken captive during the preceding thrust into the 
territory controlled by the King of Edom, and the motive of revenge would 
have followed naturally after the frustrating failure of the attempted pene- 
tration. Support for this view is then also found in the words of Amos, who 
condemned Moab "because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into 
lime. " 3 

But Dr. BShr ( Lange's Commentary ) argues rather convincingly 
against this interpretation and offers several reasons why Ames 2:1 may 
not be used as a legitimate support. When all is said and done, this view 
is rather remote, and it would be far wiser to remain with the most ob- 
vious meaning that Mesha sacrificed his own son. 

The majority are correct when they see this sacrifice as the pro- 
duct of Mesha 's active faith in Chemosh, god of Moab. The Moabite Stone 
bears strong testimony to this religious zeal in the heart of Mesha: 

"I am Mesha, son of Chemosh-..., king of Moab, the 
Dibonite. My father was king over Moab thirty years 
and I became king after my father. And I made this sanc- 
tuary for Chemosh at Qrchh, (a sanctuary of) salvation; 
for he saved me from all the kings and let me see my de- 
sire upon my adversaries. Omri, (5) king of Israel, he 
oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with 
his land . And his son succeeded him and he too said, 'I 
will oppress Moab. ' In my days he spoke (thus), and I 
saw my desire upon him and upon his house, when Israel 
perished utterly for ever. And Omrihad taken possession 
of the land of Medeba and (Israel) dwelt in it his days and 
half the days of his son, forty years; but Chemosh dwelt 
in it in my days . And I built Baal-meon and made in it 
the reservoir, and I built (10) Qaryaten. And the men of 
Gad had long dwelt in the land of Ataroth, and the king of 
Israel had built Ataroth for himself. But I fought against 
the town and took it and I slew all the people of the town, 
a spectacle for Chemosh and Moab. . . . And Chemosh said 
to me. ... "5 

We see very clearly in this tablet the Chemosh -centered life that Mesha 
led in which he interpreted all of his circumstances in terms of the activity 
and attitudes of the unseen god of Moab. Consequently, just as in the days 


when Moab was oppressed byOmri, Meshamust have come to the conclusion 
that "Chemosh was angry with his land" when all of his military maneuvers 
ended in failure. Rather than continue a hopeless fight against his seen 
enemy, Mesha came to the end of himself and tried to placate the wrath of 
his alienated god by sacrificing the dearest thing to his heart, his eldest son. 

Some go even a step further in stressing the fact that this offering 
took place upon the wall, thus indicating that Mesha did it publicly for 
Israel's benefit. This inference is not necessary, because it was normal 
to offer sacrifices from high places, but even if it be allowed, we must 
speculate concerning Mesha 's strategy in letting Israel observe this awful 
deed. Did he, like Elijah, hope to demonstrate that his god was truly alive, 
while Jehovah was asleep? Did he know of the Jewish abhorrence of human 
sacrifice ( Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5 ), and hope that Israel might take upon 
herself the guilt for driving Moab to these extremities? Or did he suspect 
that their abhorrence might simply nauseate them and sap their drive for 
conquest? Such speculation does not merit any further thought because all 
of these motives are nullified by the observation of Dr.Bahr that if Mesha's 
act of sacrifice was a strategic move with Israel in mind, then it would 
have been pure folly to have sacrificed his own son, and successor to the 
throne. 6 Mere human sacrifice would accomplish any of these speculative 
goals, but only the offering of his eldest son could placate the wrath of 

Consequently, Mesha did not sacrifice the son of the King of Edom, 
but his own son; nor did he do it out of sheer madness or sharp strategy to 
overcome Israel. He did it in a sincere effort to regain the favor of his 
god Chemosh. 


Although Mesha may not have offered his son primarily with its 
effect upon Israel in view, he must have interpreted the subsequent re- 
treat by the Israeli armies as the answer from Chemosh to his prayers 
and sacrifice. Why did Israel, on the verge of final and total victory, sud- 
denly "return to their own land?" Is it possible that Chemosh did, in fact, 
strike terror into the hearts of the aggressors? Rawlinson scoffs at the 
very thought. ? But why did Israel retreat and what is the meaning of the 
phrase "there was great indignation against Israel?" 

The Meaning of "There Was Great Indignation Against Israel" 

Many commentators (e.g. Montgomery, Farrar, and Keil) make the 
observation that the Hebrew word for indignation is used almost exclusively 
to refer to divine wrath . ° Some have interpreted such divine wrath as the 


wrath of Chemosh, and Kittel even assumed that "the wrath of Chemosh" 
once stood in the text; but most take the expression to mean the divine 
wrath of Jehovah. " 

Most of those understanding this phrase in this normal sense of the 
wrath of Jehovah explain the cause of the wrath in terms of the Biblical in- 
junction not to make human sacrifices: 

As h&yim qesep 'al is used of the divine wrath or judg- 
ment, which a man brings upon himself by sinning, in 
every other case in which the phrase occurs, we cannot 
understand it here as signifying the "human indignation".... 
The meaning is: this act of abomination, to which the 
king of the Moabites had been compelled by the extremity 
of his distress, brought a severe judgment from God upon 
Israel. The besiegers, that is to say, felt the wrath of 
God, which they had brought upon themselves by occa- 
sioning human sacrifice, which is strictly forbidden in 
the law (Lev. xviii. 21, xx. 3). 


But Bahr exposes some real problems in this viewpoint: 

In this case, however, there is not a word to the effect 
that Israel had incurred guilt. That which had been brought 
about by the allied army, had taken place as the prophet 
had foretold (ver. 18sq. ), and he had represented it as 
an especially great assistance of God. When, then, the 
king of Moab did something of his own accord which the 
Law strenuously forbade, that was his guilt and not 

Furthermore, we do well to recognize the conclusion which Dilling made 
following a detailed study of human sacrifice in the Bible, that such sacri- 
fice is amoral in nature. ^ In Leviticus, for instance, all human sacri- 
fice is not banned, but only the wrong use of it to appease heathen deities. 
The only sin and guilt in this passage is that of Mesha, and so why Jehovah 
should have suddenly turned against Israel must remain a mystery. 

This mystery is better explained by viewing this indignation as a 
subjective, and not an objective experience; as a human, and not a divine, 
emotion. Although the impression is given by some that this phrase al- 
ways refers to divine wrath, Ba'hr cites several passages in which it means 
human anger (dissatisfaction, resentment, bitterness).^ Even if these 
cross references did not exist, the preponderance of references to divine 
wrath could not rule out this interpretation, but merely make it more un- 


Thus Bahr takes the phrase to mean that the Israeli army lost heart, 
as does Rawlinson along with others. One notable variation was Josephus 
who understood this emotion, not as universal horror or fear, but as com- 
miseration for the Moabites. ^ Such a view has little to support it, but it 
does seem most satisfying to understand this emotion as the subjective ex- 
perience of the Jews, and not as the anger of Jehovah directed against them. 

Why Did Israel Return to Their Own Land? 

Having determined the meaning of the "great indignation, " we may 
fix its implications for our understanding of why Israel left the battlefield. 
It was probably not out of commiseration for the Moabites, because mercy 
was hardly a part of the code of battle ethics at that time, as witness what 
had already been wrought upon their heads (cf.v. 24,25)! Neither was the 
retreat due to a sense of guilt and responsibility for causing Mesha to sin 
which brought a fear of the wrath of Jehovah into their hearts. 

The most likely reason seems to be that Israel feared the retribu- 
tion of Chemosh, and so they fled! Most of the commentators who take a 
critical approach to the Scriptures take this option (cf. Dentan, Gray, and 
Roland de Vaux), but this fact alone does not render the position invalid. 
Rawlinson and Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown are among the more conser- 
vative scholars who hold that this was the cause of the sudden retreat. Let 
us not forget that these people shared many of the superstitions of the peo- 
ple around them (cf. Judges 11:24), and furthermore, that many of the 
Israelites were unbelievers! They had been taught the importance of sacri- 
fices, and now seeing such a sacrifice, fear gripped their superstitious 
hearts and they ceased the advance. This brings us to our final question. 

Was the Victory Incomplete? 

Through this sudden retreat did Israel then lose the battle? Of 
course not! We have already witnessed the full fulfillment of Elisha's 
prophecy, and so let us not get so caught up in this turn of events that we 
leave with the impression of defeat. Rather, because the prophecy had al- 
ready been fulfilled and there remained only the malicious and greedy 
aggression for the spoil and annihilation of the enemy, it was that much 
easier to retreat when the malice turned to fear. From the standpoint of 
what could have happened, it was incomplete, but from the standpoint of 
the prophecy, it was complete. 


By the grace of God, out of respect for Jehoshaphat, Israel was 
completely overwhelming the Moabites in fulfillment of Elisha's prophecy. 
Once that prophecy had been fulfilled, however, God did not allow the 


Moabites to be totally annihilated. He allowed even the sacrifice of his 
own son by a pagan king in desperation and religious zeal to a false god as 
the means of striking fear into the hearts of this wayward and supersti- 
tious people; and this fear caused them to stop the attack and return home. 
God fulfilled His word through His prophet in honor of Jehoshaphat, but he 
also humbled the people at the close of the victory lest they be lifted up 
with pride. 


1. Joseph Parker, The People's Bible (New York: Funk & Wagnalls 
Company) Vol. VIII n. d. p. 111. 

2. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, A Commentary Critical, Ex- 
perimental and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, Vol. II 
(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1945), p. 378. 

3. Amos 2:1. 

4. Karl Chr.W. F. Ba'hr, "The Books of the Kings", A Commentary 
on the Holy Scriptures , ed. John Peter Lange (New York: Scrib- 
ner's Sons, 1915), p. 33 (Book II). 

5. D. Winton Thomas, Documents from Old Testament Times (New 
York: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, 1958), p. 196. 

6. Bahr, p. 33. 

7. G. Rawlinson, "II Kings", The Pulpit Commentary, H. D. M. 
Spence, ed. , (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company) n. d. p. 63. 

8. Bahr cites the following passages which are most frequently 
used to substantiate this claim: Numbers 1:53; 18:5 (cf. Lev. 
17:11); Joshua 9:20; 22:20; II Chronicles 19:10; 24:18. 

9. F. W. Farrar, "The Second Book of Kings", The Expositor's 
Bible , W.R. Nicoll, ed. , (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 
1900), p. 364. 

10. C.F. Keil, "The Books of the Kings", Biblical Commentary on 
the Old Testament , (Edinburgh: T. &T. Clark) n. d. p. 307. 

11. Bahr, p. 33. 

12. David Dilling, "The Final Test of Abraham's Faith", Unpub- 
lished Critical Monograph (Winona Lake, Indiana: Grace Theo- 
logical Seminary, 1963), p. iv. 

13. Ba'hr, p. 33. As a noun: Ecc 5:17; Esther 1:18. As a verb 
Gen. 40:2; 41:10; Ex. 16:20; Lev. 10:16; and Num. 21:14. 

14. Rawlinson, p. 63. 

15. James A. Montgomery, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary 
on The Books of Kings, Henry S. Gehman ed. (New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951), p. 364. 


SIR WILLIAM A. RAMSAY. By W. Ward Gasque. Baker Book House, 

Grand Rapids, 1966, $1.50. 95 pp. 

Gasque 's brief, tasteless biography of Sir William M. Ramsay 
disappoints this reviewer. A scholar of Ramsay's magnitude deserves a 
life history displaying his human qualities and the intellectual merit of his 

Gasque sketches three of Ramsay's main works: Luke the Historian, 
Paul the Missionary Statesman, The Seven Churches of Asia . 

Gasque 's explanations of how Ramsay collected and studied histor- 
ical data preparatory to writing his famous works uncover a scholar metic- 
ulous in method and astute in arriving at conclusions. The way Ramsay 
arrived at answers to knotty New Testament problems is carefully described 
by Gasque in a manner that makes Ramsay's works easier to appreciate. 

Actually, the chapter by Gasque entitled Paul the Missionary 
Statesman has a misleading title inasmuch as various Ramsay books on 
Paul are considered. In that chapter Gasque demonstrates the skill Ramsay 
used in his portrayals and researches concerning Paul. 

Gasque hits the nail solidly on the head when he says: 

In the writings of Ramsay it is Paul the man who is 
brought to life before the eyes of the student. The char- 
acter of Paul takes on flesh and blood as the world in 
which he moved and the forces that molded his thoughts 
are unveiled for the reader, and when small- -almost 
overlooked- -details from the text of Acts or from one of 
his letters are breathed upon by Ramsay. 

As Gasque points out, Ramsay's The Seven Churches of Asia dis- 
plays how Ramsay emphasizes the importance of the historical approach 
to a correct understanding of the New Testament. Gasque cites the rich- 
ness of historical details Ramsay used in his treatment of the letter to 
Pergamum (pp. 53, 54, Gasque's Sir William A. Ramsay ). 



In his introduction to Gasque's book, F. E, Bruce says of Ramsay: 

He had received no biblical or theological training, but 
he acquired, by dint of his painstaking archaeological re- 
search coupled with his mastery of first-century litera- 
ture, an unrivalled knowledge of the historical and geo- 
graphical background of the apostolic age, especially 
where Asia Minor was concerned, and he used that know- 
ledge effectively to illuminate the New Testament. 

After all Sir William A. Ramsay was knighted not for his theological defi- 
ciencies but for his acumen in New Testament history. Bruce makes one 
other interesting observation about Ramsay: 

The nineteenth -century Ramsay was a very great man. . . 
The twentieth-century Ramsay suffered in his scholarly 
reputation because he allowed himself to be persuaded by 
Sir William Robertson Nicoll to don the mantle of a popu- 
lar apologist. 

In view of the paucity of modern materials about Ramsay, Gasque's 
book will have to suffice. Perhaps the best observation about Gasque's 
work is that it is part of Baker Studies in Biblical Archaeology. 

Grace Theological Seminary 

Benjamin A. Hamilton 

FAITH AT THE FRONTIERS. By Carl F. H. Henry. Moody Press, Chi- 
cago, 1969. $3.95. 204 pp. 

For many years the author of this challenging and interesting book 
was the editor of the conservative, fortnightly, theological journal, 
Christianity Toda y. The sixteen chapters of this volume constitute "ad- 
dresses to American audiences that have not previously appeared in print. " 
In the foreward, the author lists the various places where each address 
was given. This helps the reader to better understand the context in which 
it was delivered. 

In reading the book, one cannot but help be impressed with the fact 
that Dr. Henry vigorously defends the inspiration of Scripture, pleads for 
a better understanding and application of the Bible, and commends to every 
Christian consistency of holy living and application of these Biblical prin- 
ciples in our daily life, both in testimony and social relationships. 


It was most stimulating to read his addresses, and see how well 
the author proclaimed the truth of redemption and gave in a humble way 
his personal testimony of God's saving grace to such audiences as the men 
of Andrews Air Force Base, the faculty of Ohio State University, and the 
ministerial union of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. To 
realize that here is a learned servant of God, who in a quiet dignified way 
is still able today to reach men in high places with the truth of Jesus Christ, 
should be a challenge to every Christian to let his light shine wherever he 
has influence. 

This book should be read by Christians of every position in life, as 
a stimulating challenge to keep persisting in testimony whether by word or 
life, in the decadent world of today. God's truth is still able to change lives. 
This book is a worthy testimony to such a challenge. 

John H. Stoll 
Grace College 

THE JEW AUV MODERN ISRAEL. By Milton B. Lindberg. Moody Press, 
Chicago, 1969, $.50. 96 pp. (paperback). 

Some books are worth revision and reprint. This is the case with 
the work of Milton B. Lindberg, Director Emeritus of American Messianic 
Fellowship, as revised by present Director Archie A. MacKinney. The 
author cautiously relates modern events in Israel to prophecy. He accepts 
the prewritten Biblical story of the Jewish nation as an accurate forecast 
of future events. Lovers of the Jewish people will see present Israeli suc- 
cess as an earnest that God will fulfill His covenant. 

The style of the book is interesting and the information thrilling to 
the believer's heart. Lindberg packs the book with facts and figures . 
His pictures and drawings are clear and relevant. The discussions on 
Israeli religious, economic and social situations are vital. Two appen- 
dices are included. The first appendix relates the 46 sieges of Jerusalem 
from King David (c. 1000 B. C. ) onward. Appendix 2 is a calender of re- 
cent events in Israel's history (1882 A. D. - 1967 A.D.). Some very inter- 
esting discussions are on the East Gate (p. 66f. ), the Star of Jacob and 
David (p. 78f. ) and the 1967 Arab- Israel Blitz (p. 80f). 

The map on page four and the temple diagram on page seventy-one 
lack the alphabetical numbers to which references are made in the text. 
The reviewer would appreciate the identification of the Arabic newspaper 
mentioned on page sixty-eight. 

James H. Gabhart 
Community Church 
Tippecanoe, Indiana 


SOUS Of Til/. By Eugene Rubingh. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 
1969, $5.95, 263 pp. 

Rubingh's church history of the Tiv church in central Nigeria pro- 
vides a very readable account of African church development in an African 
state heavily saturated with mission activities. 

Many mission books of the past have been adulatory tributes to mis- 
sionaries and their work. African Christians and their community and cul- 
ture receive a more appropriate treatment in Rubingh's book than in the 
ordinary mission history. 

In chapter 3 the book author treats Tiv traditions of their origin 
and migration, Tiv social organization, their traditional religion and the 
salient characteristics of the Tiv world-view. Such a chapter could be a 
ponderous collection of technicalities in less skillful hands. That Rubingh 
has provided a useful condensation of important aspects of Tiv cultural an- 
thropology is explained by Rubingh's own words (p. 57): 

Before we investigate the manner in which the Gospel was 
carried to the Tiv, we must delineate the milieu into 
which the Gospel message came. This task grows more 
difficult with the passage of time, for, as the Tiv would 
express the problem, the old mushroom is decaying and 
the new mushroom growing in its place. Futhermore, 
this chapter cannot provide in any sense a complete eth- 
nography of Tiv society and its traditional institutions. 
Ten years with the Tiv have shown the author that he 
still has much to learn of the mythology and ethos. 

Chapter 5, The Transformation of Tiv Society , expands the back- 
ground material of chapter 3 by updating the topics concerned so as to give 
a contemporary view of Tiv life. 

Chapter 1 of Rubingh's book is an introductory generalization of 
missiological principles, helpful in understanding mission developments 
of the past 40 years. Chapter 2, The Wider Context, looks at African his- 
tory in a panoramic sweep, narrows the history to Nigeria, and concludes 
with the middle belt of Nigeria --home of the Tiv. Chapter 4 covers his- 
torical background of the Dutch Reformed missionary activities among the 
Tiv and assorted problems that confronted the missionaries. This reviewer 
considers chapter 4 as an excellent presentation of an area of mission his- 
tory materials that too often is handled injudiciously and incompetently. 


Chapter 6 of Sons of Tiv is addressed to the development of an in- 
digenous Tiv church and chapter 7 is a future look toward tomorrow's Tiv 

Rubingh's Sons of Tiv seems to this reviewer to be an adept trea- 
tise on Dutch Reformed missionary history among the Tiv of Nigeria. Fea- 
tures appealing to the reviewer are: Enlightening handling of data which 
while they might ordinarily bore the average reader become significant to 
the story Rubingh presents. The understanding consideration and presen- 
tation of problems associated with the building of a truly African church 
offers a more objective treatment of a difficult, fluid subject. 

Rubingh wisely omits a subject index, using instead only an index 
of names. His use of bibliographical footnotes in place of a more formal 
bibliography at the back of the book is a more harmonious device for a book 
such as Sons of Tiv . 

The absence of excessive tabular materials and a collection of ar- 
tificially posed halftones of missionaries, converts and unreached Africans 
enhances Rubingh's book. A type face that is neither obtrusively large nor 
bordering on microscopic size is used. Proper leading and circumspect 
use of different type sizes make the reading of Sons of Tiv easier. 

Congratulations to Baker Book House for Sons of Tiv both as to con- 
tent and the appealing book jacket. The jacket design and blurbs are, for 
once, believable. 

Benjamin A. Hamilton 
Grace Theological Seminary 


THE TIME IS AT HAND. By Jay Adams. Presbyterian and Reformed 
Publishing Company, Nutley, N. J., 1970 (revised edition ). 

123 pp. , paper. 

Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Nutley, N.J. , 
1969. 148 pp. $2.95, paper. 

Craig Press, Nutley, N. J., 1969. 282 pp. $3.95, paper. 

BIBLICAL PREDESTINATION. By Gordon H. Clark. Presbyterian and 
Reformed Publishing Company. Nutley, N. J., 1969. 155 pp. 
$1.95, paper. 

THE WORK OF CHRIST. By I. Howard Marshall. Zondervan Publish- 
ing House, Grand Rapids, 1970 (reprinted). 128 pp. $1.95, 

Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970 (reprinted). 
282 pp. $2.45, paper. 

Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970 (revised edition). 

Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 192pp. $4.95. 

THE UPPER ROOM. By J. C. Ryle. The Banner of Truth Trust, 
London, 1970. 467 pp. $4.50. 

THE FOUR GOSPELS. By David Brown. The Banner of Truth Trust, 
London, 1970. 486 pp. $8.00. 

lishing House, Grand Rapids, 1969. $8.95. 

ETHEL BARRETT'S HOLY WAR. By Ethel Barrett. Regal Book Divi- 
sion, Gospel Light Publications, Glendale, Calif., 1970. 234 pp. 
$1.95, paper. 

Press, Chicago, 1969 (reprinted). 96 pp. $.95, paper. 

THE GRACE OF GOD. By Charles Caldwell Ryrie. Moody Press, 
Chicago, 1970. 126 pp. $1.25, (paperback edition). 

THIS WAY TO LIFE. By Derek Prime. Moody Press, Chicago, 1970 
(reprinted). 92 pp. $. 95, paper. 



WHY JESUS? By F. J. Huegel. Bethany Fellowship, Inc., Minneapolis, 

1970. 90 pp. $1.00, paper. 

Jensen. Moody Press, Chicago, 1970. 104 pp. $.95, paper. 

R. Lewis. Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, 111., 1970. 

174 pp. $2.25, paper. 
DAMNED THROUGH THE CHURCH. By John Warwick Montgomery. 

Bethany Fellowship, Inc., Minneapolis, 1970. 96 pp. $2.95. 

Lockyer. Zondervan Publishing House, 1969. 327 pp. $4.95. 

Zondervan Publishing House, 1970. 192 pp. $4.95. 
BIBLE PARADOXES. By R. Earl Allen. Baker Book House, Grand 

Rapids, 1963. 128 pp. $1.95, paper. 
IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME. By Alexander Whyte. Baker Book House, 

Grand Rapids, 1970 (reprinted). 105 pp. $1.50, paper. 
THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD. By J. H. Jowett. Baker Book House, 

Grand Rapids, 1969 (reprinted). 265 pp. $2.95, paper. 
FACING THE ISSUES 2. By William J. Krutza and Philip P. Di Cicco. 

Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1969. 140 pp. $1.25, paper. 
LIVING STONES. By George Sweeting. Baker Book House, Grand 

Rapids, 1970, 93 pp. 
THE BOOK OF ISAIAH, VOL. II. By Edward J. Young. Wm. B. Eerdmans 

Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1970. 604 pp. $9.95. 

Book Division, Gospel Light Publications, Glendale, Calif., 1970, 

166 pp. $.95, paper. 

Moody Press, Chicago, 1970 (revised edition). 127 pp. $.95, 


Jensen. Moody Press, Chicago, 1969, 109 pp. $.95, paper. 

By Arthur W. Pink. Moody Press, Chicago, 1969. 347 pp. $5.95. 

Moody Press, Chicago, 1969. 349 pp. $5.95. 
200 SCRIPTURAL SERMON OUTLINES. By Jabez Burns. Kregel Publi- 
cations, Grand Rapids, 1969. 424 pp. $4.95. 

Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, 1969. 225 pp. $4.95. 
MEN WHO KNEW GOD. By William Sanford LaSor. Regal Book Divi - 

sion, Gospel Light Publications, Glendale, California, 1970. 

196 pp. $.95, paper. 



Book Division, Gospel Light Publications, Glendale, California, 

1970. 138 pp. $.69, paper. 

William M. Ramsay. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1970 

(reprinted). 415 pp. $6.95. 
ARE THESE THE LAST DAYS? By Robert Glenn Gromacki. Fleming 

H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, N.J. , 1970. 190 pp. $4.50. 
A SYMPOSIUM ON CREATION II. By Donald W. Patten and Others. 

Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 151 pp. $1.95, paper. 
THREE LETTERS FROM PRISON. By John H. Schaal. Baker Book 

House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 151 pp. $2.95, paper. 

Henry W. Soltau. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, 1970. 

148 pp. $4.95 
THE CHURCH OF THE MIDDLE AGES. By Carl A. Volz. Concordia 

Publishing House, St. Louis, 1970. 198 pp. $5.95. 

H. Dannenfeldt. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1970. 

145 pp. $4.95. 

Boice. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 192pp. 

$2.95, paper. 

Tinkle. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970 (re- 
vised edition). 182 pp. $2.45, paper. 
A NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY. Editors: G. C. D. Howley, F. F. 

Bruce, H. L. Ellison. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 

1969. 666 pp. $7.95. 

Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 163 pp. $2.95, paper. 
THE BOOKS OF RUTH AND ESTHER (Shield Bible Study Series). By C. 

Reuben Anderson. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 

93 pp. $1.95, paper. 
THE BOOK OF JOEL (Shield Bible Study Series). By Mariano Di Gangi. 

Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1970. 78 pp. $1.95. 
GROWING YOUNG CHURCHES. By Melvin Hodges. Moody Press, Chi- 
cago, 1970. (revised and enlarged). 127 pp. $1.25, paper. 
THE EPISTLES OF JOHN. By Donald W. Burdick. Moody Press, Chi- 
cago, 1970. 127 pp. $.95, paper. 
THE DIVINE COMFORTER. By J. Dwight Pentecost. Moody Press, 

Chicago, 1970 (reprinted). 256 pp. $2.25, paper. 
EVOLUTION ON TRIAL. By Cora Reno. Moody Press, Chicago, 1970. 

192 pp. $3.95.